Mayor Nutter Creates Manufacturing Task Force

Mayor Michael Nutter on Tuesday created a task force designed to generate ideas about how Philadelphia can grow manufacturing jobs in and around the city. “We can hold up Philadelphia for the manufacturing history that we have, the great location, access to rail, road, air, and certainly port.  So we think that we are positioned well to seek a number of different industries, and we need to be as aggressive and expansive as possible,” he said.

Which sounds good, except for the part where CBS Philly reports that “jobs in manufacturing are on the rise across the country” and that the task force is a means of jumping on the bandwagon. Because the manufacturing sector, while still an important source of jobs, isn’t what it used to be.

Check out this chart:


There’s a little flip up at the end, but the truth is that the overall trend in manufacturing has been down, down, down for several decades. And to the extent that manufacturing is experiencing a revival in this country, well, a lot of that is due to automation. That makes manufacturing bigger, but it doesn’t necessarily translate to jobs.

Which isn’t to say that Mayor Nutter shouldn’t seek out ideas on growing manufacturing jobs here. Only that the challenge is steep. The 25-member task force reports its recommendations in September. [CBS Philly]