The Brookings Institution has a new report out on "Locating American Manufacturing: Trends in the Geography of Production", as pointed out in the Washington Post here (interestingly, food manufacturing not only is included in the computations, but represents the biggest sector in terms of jobs with 12.6% of the manufacturing pie). The report has excellent interactive features, so for today's short post I'll compare the manufacturing scorecards of the Lehigh Valley, aka Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton in Brookings terminology, and of the Delaware Valley, aka Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington. (For my non-local readers, Bethlehem is about 1 1/4 hour north of Philadelphia, so both areas are close from each other geographically.)
- Allentown is part of "Chemical Alley", a manufacturing group that "consists of metro areas that have a high degree of specialization in chemicals" (I'll make a wild guess here and venture that Air Products has something to do with this labeling) while Philadelphia falls into the "Diversified Manufacturing" category, i.e., "manufacturing employment... is relatively spread out among many industries."
- With 35K manufacturing jobs, the Allentown metro area ranks 55 in the country while Philly's 187K jobs push it to rank 7.
- Both the Allentown and Philly areas have seen a decrease in manufacturing jobs of about 35% between 2000 and 2010.
- Manufacturing jobs represent about 10% of all jobs in Allentown (rank 20) but 7% of all jobs in Philadelphia (rank 63).
- 22% of the manufacturing jobs in Allentown are classified as "moderately high-tech" while 17% of the manufacturing jobs in Philly are. (Moderately high-tech includes petroleum and coal products, transportation, appliance/component manufacturing.)
- 8% of the manufacturing jobs in Allentown are classified as "very high-tech" while 24% of the manufacturing jobs in Philly are. (Very high tech includes pharmaceuticals, computers, aerospace, electronics.)
- Average manufacturing wages:
- Very high tech Allentown $64K Philly $99K US $93K
- Moderately high tech Allentown $69K Philly $84K US $65K
- Manufacturing Allentown $54K Philly $68K US $58K
- All jobs Allentown $44K Philly $54K US $47K
Either the Brookings PDF file on Allentown has a typo or (1) moderately high-tech jobs pay better in Allentown than very high-tech ones, (2) very high-tech jobs pay about 1/3 less in Allentown than the US average. For the sake of restoring the area's competitiveness and its residents' earnings power, this should change fast.