Why Are Philadelphia’s Manufacturing Jobs Disappearing?

Because everybody’s scared the government is going to stop spending your hard-earned tax money:

Manufacturing in the Philadelphia region unexpectedly contracted in January, an indication companies are becoming more concerned about across-the-board U.S. government spending cuts that could slow growth.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s general economic index dropped to minus 5.8 from 4.6 in December. Readings lower than zero signal contraction in the area covering eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware. The median forecast of 58 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was 5.6. Estimates ranged from minus 3 to 10.

The report follows New York Fed data released earlier this week showing factory activity shrank for a sixth straight month and raises the risk manufacturing, once a pillar of the recovery, will again weaken in early 2013. Looming changes in federal spending and stagnant prices give companies little reason to expand inventories, which may hurt manufacturers.

Emphasis added. Lots of people like to say that government doesn’t create jobs, but this seems to indicate otherwise. In any case, Mayor Nutter’s new task force to boost manufacturing employment in the city has its work cut out for it. [Bloomberg Businessweek]