MNI reports that Philadelphia-area manufacturers expect a stronger year in 2014:
The city’s top economic development official also predicted an improved performance for manufacturers this year but said growth would be steady rather than spectacular, due in part to structural problems such as a shortage of skilled labor.
“It’s slow growth but it’s growth,” Alan Greenberger, Philadelphia’s deputy mayor for Economic Development and director of Commerce, said in an interview with MNI. “It’s not going to be a rocket ship; it’s going to be a little more predictable, with fewer boom and bust cycles.”
Greenberger predicted the strong components in the region’s manufacturing growth this year will include the food industry, notably Tasty Kake, a Philadelphia tradition that is now running 24 hours a day, and the energy industry, which has recently been boosted by the takeover of a Sunoco refinery that is processing increasing quantities of crude oil arriving by train from North Dakota’s Bakken field.
“The likelihood of Philadelphia or any major northeastern city returning to a place where you manufacture a million widgets a day – it’s probably not happening,” Greenberger concluded. “The more likely story is more specialty manufacturing that requires higher levels of design, engineering, computer operations. These are really good jobs but people have to be ready – this is not simple assembly line stuff any more.”