Manufacturing business accounted for about 6,000 jobs in 1970, or almost 28% of all non-agricultural employment. Historically, the manufacturing base had been closely connected with the mining industry, and as mining declined, so did some of the manufacturing base. By 2000, manufacturing employment had declined to about 4,000 jobs, a 33% decrease, and it comprised only about 11% of the employment base. Minor declines continued in the past decade, and it accounted for about 10% of employment in 2010.
The coal industry accounted for over 5,000 jobs in 1980 and made up about 17% of the County’s employed workforce. By 1995, mining employment was down to about 3,000 jobs, a decline of about 46%. Over the next five years, mining employment continued to decline to about 1,750 jobs and has remained relatively stable at that general level since 2000. In 2010, mining employment represented about 4% of the County’s employment base.
The employment declines in the goods producing industries have primarily been within the mining and manufacturing sectors, with some offsetting gains in the oil & gas and construction sectors.
Employment in the oil and gas industries had relatively low levels of employment from 1980 to 2005, averaging about 250 jobs annually. Since 2005, however, employment in oil and gas operations has increased almost 70%, largely due to recent activities related to Marcellus shale exploration.
Construction employment in 1980 accounted for only about 2% of the County’s jobs base, but it has more than doubled in the past three decades and accounted for almost 8% of total in 2010.
Traditional natural resource and manufacturing industries are evolving and redefining themselves as new technologies emerge. After declines in the past few decades, these industries have tremendous capacity for future growth, and they will likely generate excellent opportunities for the development of new businesses through entrepreneurship and business attraction in the coming years.
Visit the Tri-County Manufacturing Consortium to learn more about manufacturing and the resources available to companies and individuals interested in the industry.