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Regional Report: New Investments and Job Creation Are Keeping the Mid-Atlantic’s Economy Growing

Unemployment rates across the region are mixed, but companies in a variety of industry sectors have pledged investments and the creation of new jobs.

Directory 2017
The economies of the Mid-Atlantic States are moving forward at a healthy clip. There are plenty of positive headlines across practically every sector, from finance to manufacturing to distribution. Jobs are being created in everything from high-tech R&D to wealth management to snack food manufacturing.

In the New York community of Rochester, state and local officials have been working to fire up a national hub for the photonics industry, and the efforts have generated some significant promises, even if the activity is materializing only gradually. Most notably, the state announced in March that two leading photonics companies had pledged to invest $1.6 billion and create more than 1,400 new jobs over the next several years — the exact timetable was not certain. Avogy’s proposal would move its headquarters to New York from Silicon Valley.

Expansions and investments in New York run the gamut of industry types. Some 600 jobs were promised by insurance giant GEICO when it announced an expansion of service center operations in western New York. The company has more than 6,300 employees in New York, nearly half at its Buffalo regional office. The distribution sector saw such announcements as the 466-job plan by Dick’s Sporting Goods, involving a $100 million regional distribution facility in Conklin.

There’s a variety of activity in food-related manufacturing, from a $25 million, Chex-producing General Mills investment in Buffalo to an expansion at the Genesee Brewery that would create an “eco-brewery district” in Rochester and create some 128 jobs. Those food-industry gains will help offset the loss of New York City’s last remaining milk-processing plant, Elmhurst Dairy, which shut down at the end of October and idled nearly 300 workers.
SlideshowMid-Atlantic Region Demographics and Industries Mid-Atlantic Region Demographics and Industries
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Mid-Atlantic Region Demographics and Industries

  • Delaware: Principal Manufacturing Industries

    Delaware: Principal Manufacturing Industries Source: Emsi 2016.4 (via BLS, Census and BEA)
  • Maryland: Principal Manufacturing Industries

    Maryland: Principal Manufacturing Industries Source: Emsi 2016.4 (via BLS, Census and BEA)
  • New Jersey: Principal Manufacturing Industries

    New Jersey: Principal Manufacturing Industries Source: Emsi 2016.4 (via BLS, Census and BEA)
  • New York: Principal Manufacturing Industries

    New York: Principal Manufacturing Industries Source: Emsi 2016.4 (via BLS, Census and BEA)
  • Pennsylvania: Principal Manufacturing Industries

    Pennsylvania: Principal Manufacturing Industries Source: Emsi 2016.4 (via BLS, Census and BEA)
  • Mid-Atlantic Region: 2016 Educational Attainment

    Mid-Atlantic Region: 2016 Educational Attainment Source: Emsi and U.S. Census Bureau's decennial census/Current Population Statisics
  • Mid-Atlantic Region: Demographics

    Mid-Atlantic Region: Demographics Population - Source: Emsi and Census, Total Labor Force - Source: BLS (Local Area Unemployment Statistics), Jobs - Source: Emsi 2016.4, Total Unemployed - Source: BLS (Local Area Unemployment Statistics)
  • Mid-Atlantic Region: Top Industry Clusters

    Mid-Atlantic Top Indistry Clusters Source: Emsi Developer (via BLS, Census, BEA and Emsi's Input-Output Model)
Demographic Analysis Provided by Emsi. Emsi is a labor market and economic analytics firm based in Moscow, Idaho. It supplies data via software and consulting to hundreds of economic development organizations, workforce agencies, educational institutions, and companies in the US, UK, and Canada. For more, visit economicmodeling.com.
Elsewhere on the manufacturing scene, American Packaging is promising more than 260 new jobs in Monroe County at a new facility, and designer eyewear maker Warby Parker is planning a new Rockland County optical lab that’s worth at least 128 new jobs. Alstom Transportation wants to build next-generation high-speed trains for Amtrak, and wants to do so in Steuben County — that’ll entail a $30 million, 200-job expansion. However, from those train-related gains, subtract 48 jobs that’ll be lost through the closure of GE Transportation’s locomotive turbocharger plant near Albany — production will be shifting to India.

Plenty of investments across New York are geared toward ushering in future prosperity, from hundreds of millions of dollars in highway infrastructure work announced in the past year to major investments in clean-energy projects. One example is the series of NY Green Bank investments announced in May, totaling as much as $220 million that will go into residential and industrial solar power installations. The burgeoning unmanned aircraft systems industry in Central New York could get a boost from a $30 million plan to develop a 50-mile flight traffic management system between Syracuse and Rome, N.Y. Investments in communications infrastructure helped the state land the top slot in the “50 States of Broadband” study of broadband activity and investment, conducted by Strategic Networks Group.

In New Jersey, the Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies is a hub for life sciences activity — more than 40 emerging companies in that sector have benefited from the resources at the center. One of the most recent announcements welcomed early-stage drug discovery companies Quixgen and API Pharma Tech to the roster. Meanwhile, the state’s Technology Business Tax Certificate Transfer (NOL) Program gives technology companies options to raise funds by selling tax losses or R&D tax credits — more than 40 growing companies are on tap to benefit in fiscal 2017.

Another helpful tool has been the state’s Angel Investor Tax Credit Program. It offers refundable tax credits for investments in emerging technology businesses that are involved in research, manufacturing or tech commercialization in New Jersey. More credits are available by way of the Grow New Jersey program, which helped land the Jersey City corporate headquarters of World Business Lenders, a provider of short-term business loans that has promised to create more than 200 jobs.

The headlines from Pennsylvania suggest an economy growing on multiple fronts. To begin with, the state demonstrated its advantages as a prime distribution location with the announcement of 5,000 new full-time jobs courtesy of online retailer Amazon. The company has multiple sites across Pennsylvania, and plans to invest at least $150 million in those sites over the next three years. Another 680 new jobs were promised by FedEx Ground when it announced plans for a distribution center in Northampton County. And a Lebanon Valley Cold Storage and Distribution Center promises to deliver frozen bakery products and more than 130 new jobs in the community of Lebanon.

Mid-Atlantic States Recent Industry Announcements

Companies that have announced new and/or expanded facilities in the Mid-Atlantic region.
  1. GEICO

    Getzville, NY

    Some 600 jobs were promised by insurance giant GEICO when it announced an expansion of service center operations in western New York.

  2. Dick’s Sporting Goods

    Conklin, NY

    The distribution sector saw such announcements as the 466-job plan by Dick’s Sporting Goods, involving a $100 million regional distribution facility in Conklin.

  3. Genesee Brewery

    Rochester, NY

    Expansion at the Genesee Brewery that would create an “eco-brewery district” in Rochester and create some 128 jobs.

  4. General Mills

    Buffalo, NY

    A variety of activity in food-related manufacturing includes a $25 million, Chex-producing General Mills investment in Buffalo.

  5. American Packaging

    Chili, NY

    American Packaging is promising more than 260 new jobs at a new facility in Monroe County.

  6. Warby Parker

    Spring Valley, NY

    Designer eyewear maker Warby Parker is planning a new Rockland County optical lab that will create at least 128 new jobs.

  7. Alstom Transportation

    Steuben County, NY

    Alstom Transportation wants to build next-generation high-speed trains for Amtrak, and wants to do so in Steuben County — that’ll entail a $30 million, 200-job expansion.

  8. Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies

    North Brunswick Township, NJ

    More than 40 emerging life sciences companies have benefited from resources at New Jersey’s Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies.

  9. Amazon

    Pittsburgh, PA

    The state demonstrated its advantages as a prime distribution location with the announcement of 5,000 new full-time jobs courtesy of online retailer Amazon.

  10. FedEx Ground

    Northampton County, PA

    Another 680 new jobs were promised by FedEx Ground when it announced plans for a distribution center in Northampton County.

  11. Lebanon Valley Cold Storage and Distribution Center

    Lebanon, PA

    A Lebanon Valley Cold Storage and Distribution Center promises to deliver frozen bakery products and more than 130 new jobs in the community of Lebanon.

  12. Cerner Corp.

    Chester County, PA

    The prominent healthcare IT company Cerner Corp. is planning to expand its Chester County operations, which means up to 250 new high-paying jobs.

  13. WebpageFX

    Harrisburg, PA

    At least 80 new jobs are in the works through the headquarters expansion of WebpageFX in Harrisburg.

  14. Vertex

    King of Prussia, PA

    A corporate tax solutions provider, Vertex, is consolidating operations in King of Prussia and creating 225 new jobs.

  15. Envestnet Inc

    Chester County, PA

    Envestnet Inc., which offers unified wealth management technology and services, is bringing more than 150 new jobs to Chester County.

  16. Manitowoc Cranes

    Guilford Township, PA

    Manitowoc Cranes is growing in Franklin County and promising 250 new jobs.

  17. Whitehall Specialties

    Worth Township, PA

    Whitehall Specialties hopes to employ 80 people in cheese production in Lawrence County.

  18. Champion Modular Inc.

    Susquehanna Township, PA

    Champion Modular Inc., maker of homes and commercial structures, intends to hire 264 as it reopens a vacant manufacturing facility in Juniata County.

  19. Almac Group

    Wilmington, DE

    Contract pharmaceutical maker Almac Group is expanding its existing U.S. headquarters in Montgomery County.

  20. Alpha Technologies

    Guilford Township, PA

    Alpha, a provider of IT solutions and consulting services, opened its new headquarters in downtown Wilmington with a promise of 240 jobs.

  21. A Techmer ES

    New Castle, DE

    A Techmer ES engineered thermoplastic compounds operation opened in New Castle in 2016, with 60 on the payroll.

  22. AB Group Packaging

    Newark, DE

    AB Group Packaging in the Delaware community of Newark, which will employ nearly 90 people by 2017, is the company’s first U.S. operation.

  23. Morgan Stanley & Co

    Baltimore, MD

    Morgan Stanley & Co. plans to expand in Baltimore City and create as many as 800 new jobs over the next four years.

  24. Novavax

    Gaithersburg, MD

    Novavax, which develops vaccines and is based in Gaithersburg, as announced plans to expand its R&D and clinical trial support program that would add up to 850 new jobs to the 400 already there.

  25. The Donohoe Companies

    Bethesda, MD

    Prominent commercial real estate firm The Donohoe Companies announced its plan to move from the District of Columbia to nearby Bethesda, Maryland, bringing along 240 employees.

  26. Astrum Solar

    Annapolis Junction, MD

    The plan by Astrum Solar to expand in Annapolis Junction promises to yield another 240 jobs within the next three years.

On the technology front, the prominent healthcare IT company Cerner Corp. is planning to expand its Chester County operations, which means up to 250 new high-paying jobs. At least 80 new jobs are in the works through the headquarters expansion of WebpageFX in Harrisburg. A corporate tax solutions provider, Vertex, is consolidating operations in King of Prussia and creating 225 new jobs. Envestnet Inc., which offers unified wealth management technology and services, is bringing more than 150 new jobs to Chester County.

And in manufacturing, there’s a whole lot happening in the Keystone State. For example, Manitowoc Cranes is growing in Franklin County and promising 250 new jobs. Whitehall Specialties hopes to employ 80 people in cheese production in Lawrence County. Champion Modular Inc., maker of homes and commercial structures, intends to hire 264 as it reopens a vacant manufacturing facility in Juniata County. And Almac Group, contract pharmaceutical maker, is expanding its existing U.S. headquarters in Montgomery County with the intention of creating 312 new jobs over the next three years. Meanwhile, one of Pennsylvania’s most prominent brand names reduced its payroll in 2016 — Kraft Heinz shuttered a Lehigh Valley plant that had been making ketchup and other Heinz products for more than four decades.

In Delaware, some of the year’s biggest news came from the merging of DuPont and Dow, which announced back in February that their combined agriculture company would be based in Delaware. They had already announced plans to base their specialty products business in Delaware. The merger, slated to close in 2017, would create three companies, two of which would be headquartered in Delaware.

Other significant Delaware updates include the opening of Alpha Technologies’ new headquarters in downtown Wilmington. Alpha is a provider of IT solutions and consulting services, and its facility came with a promise of 240 jobs. A Techmer ES engineered thermoplastic compounds operation opened in New Castle in 2016, with 60 on the payroll. And the April opening of AB Group Packaging in the Delaware community of Newark drew the attendance of the Irish ambassador to the U.S. The European packaging company’s first U.S. operation is to employ nearly 90 people by 2017.

Maryland, too, has enjoyed significant growth across a wide range of industry sectors in the past year, from finance to healthcare to food processing and more. One of its biggest announcements came in November, when Morgan Stanley & Co. said it would expand in Baltimore City and create as many as 800 new jobs over the next four years. The company already employs about a thousand people in the area. In the healthcare arena, Novavax, which develops vaccines and is based in Gaithersburg, announced plans to expand its R&D and clinical trial support program — that would add up to 850 new jobs to the 400 already there.

Prominent commercial real estate firm The Donohoe Companies announced its plan to move from the District of Columbia to nearby Bethesda, Maryland, bringing along 240 employees. The plan by Astrum Solar to expand in Annapolis Junction promises to yield another 240 jobs within the next three years. Supply chain solutions provider XPO Logistics has plans to create up to 400 jobs in Harford County. That’s near where Frito-Lay intends to grow its snack food manufacturing and distribution center.

Jobless rates in the Mid-Atlantic States are mixed, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The September 2016 unemployment rate ranged from 4.2 percent in Maryland and 4.3 percent in Delaware to 5.0 percent in New York, 5.3 percent in New Jersey, and 5.7 percent in Pennsylvania.
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