In this Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018, photo Luis Ramos works at the Howard McCray's commercial refrigeration manufacturing facility in Philadelphia. The experience Christopher Scott, president of Howard McCray, has had suggests that the impact of the tariffs is still playing out. Though has absorbed the higher costs for now, he hopes to eventually pass some on to his customers. First, though, he wants to see how his larger competitors handle the higher costs. “Little Howard McCray can’t go out and raise prices 10 percent and lose all the market share that we’ve worked so hard to gain,” Scott said.
Katie is a reporter for WITF and hosts PA Post's political podcast State of the State. For two years she has covered the legislature, governor, and a wide range of political issues for public radio stations across Pennsylvania.
The Capitol Bureau Chief Desk is partially funded through generous gifts made in the memory of Tony May through the Anthony J. May Memorial Fund.For more information about Tony May, click here.
(Harrisburg) — Manufacturing jobs in Pennsylvania have been steadily declining since January, as employers have grappled with uncertainty over President Donald Trump’s ongoing trade dispute with China.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest jobs report shows the pattern is continuing unabated.
In January, the commonwealth employed 569,800 people in the manufacturing sector. Preliminary figures for July—the most recent month available—show that number has shrunk to by 8,400.
Reactions have been mixed.
David Taylor, who heads Pennsylvania’s Manufacturer’s Association, said he supports the president’s tactics—even if jobs are reduced during the tariff war with China.
“We’re in a tumultuous period, there’s no question about that,” he acknowledged.
But Rick Bloomingdale, who heads Pennsylvania’s chapter of the AFL-CIO, said he’s worried there’s no end in sight to the instability.
“What’s the end game? Tariffs are a tool, not a policy,” he said. “There’s no long-term benefit to someone losing their job.”
It’s unclear if the trend means an impending manufacturing recession, but some economists have said one is possible.
Bloomingdale and Taylor both said they think it’s too soon to make concrete predictions.
The downturn comes after a few years of nationwide growth in manufacturing. The Labor Statistics Bureau has noted, while the growth hasn’t stopped, it slowed down this year.