Pennsylvania has a rich history as one of the top manufacturing states in the country. It routinely receives high rankings in national polls for the benefits in operations, logistics and infrastructure that manufacturers, including those in the food processing industry, find when they choose to locate their businesses. Greater Hazleton amplifies those benefits through its strategic location to major transportation routes, lower operating costs and its skilled workforce.
Pennsylvania recently ranked in the top 10 in a national poll across five crucial industry categories including manufacturing, infrastructure and exports. Business Facilities’ Annual Rankings Report placed PA sixth in the “Top Manufacturing States” category, which measures employment totals for manufacturing jobs; fifth in the “Infrastructure Upgrades” category and 10th in the “Exports” category.
Manufacturing has played a key role in Pennsylvania’s economic development success for more than a century. Amy Zecha, executive director for marketing at the Department of Community and Economic Development, said Pennsylvania’s place among the best manufacturing states in the nation is attributable to its large, industrial workforce.
“It’s no secret that Pennsylvania is a leader in manufacturing. It’s part of our legacy that continues to shape our future,” Zecha said. “Our manufacturers and manufacturing workforce of more than 563,000 individuals are the backbone of our economy and contribute to our quality of life.”
In Greater Hazleton, this is most evident in the more than 6,000 employees, including 2,500 employees in the food processing/food distribution sector, who work in the manufacturing industry within the Humboldt, Valmont and McAdoo Industrial Parks.
Pennsylvania’s place as a top-notch manufacturing state has led to its success in exports. Food items were among the $39.4 billion in goods or services exported from Pennsylvania in 2015. The Hershey Company knows about this manufacturing and exporting success first-hand, as its Greater Hazleton facility in the Humboldt Industrial Park creates around 100 million pounds of chocolate each year that is distributed across the United States and Canada.
A Hershey Company spokesperson said, “Hazleton is an important part of our total U.S. manufacturing network. Our highly productive employees at Hazleton make some of our biggest brands and most popular products, helping us to continue to grow our business here in the United States, Canada and other parts of the world. It is a key part of our overall chocolate manufacturing capability and we are very proud of the great work and great products our employees at Hazleton make every day.”
Pennsylvania’s dedication to making a number of infrastructure upgrades to ensure efficiency and safety while transporting goods and operating businesses helped it rank fifth in the Infrastructure Upgrades category. Greater Hazleton has capitalized on these improvements, combined with its strategic location near the crossroads of Interstates 80 and 81, to become one of the best locations for companies to do business efficiently and cost-effectively.