Understanding Wabtec's Economic Impact on Erie
The Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership released an economic impact report on Wabtec in light of ongoing negotiations between the company and the UE Local 506.
The economic impact report serves to shed light on the impact a company has on a community, providing additional context to the current discussion and underscoring the importance it will have throughout the region. Economic impact reports typically measure and analyze the change in business revenue, profits, wages, and jobs. Often times, economic impact reports are useful when a proposed project is in question, a new policy is in play, or a company is relocating into or out of an area. Economic impact studies are frequently used to compare different hypothetical scenarios and outcomes.
Manufacturing in Erie
According to a January 2019 report issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry Center for Workforce Information and Analysis, manufacturing accounted for approximately 16% of Erie County’s total employment—or approximately 19,000 jobs.
Comparatively, the average number of manufacturing jobs throughout the state of Pennsylvania hovers around 10%. This results in Erie being more heavily impacted by shifts in the manufacturing industry—both in terms of its economic multiplier and overall economic health of the community.
When viewed holistically—accounting for all Wabtec hourly and salaried positions and including the indirect employment created as a result of its presence in Erie—Wabtec’s total employment impact in Erie covers more than 6,800 jobs or about 6% of the entire county’s workforce across all industries.
To know and appreciate the potential within Erie County, it’s essential to accurately assess Wabtec’s economic impact on the local economy.
Economic Impact Findings Summary
The economic impact report found that the 1,700 union jobs support an additional 5,100 jobs throughout the region – or roughly a one to three ratio. These jobs are not limited to Wabtec’s immediately supply chain. The additional 5,100 jobs span across industries from healthcare to retail.
If Wabtec were to close the facility, the projected losses would be at least 6,800 jobs. This equates to $400 million draining out of the Erie region – a significant loss to the local economy and Erie community. That estimate reflects direct effect losses in supply chain business revenue and employee wages down to induced effect losses of personal spending at other establishments throughout the community.
Less than a decade ago, the facility in Erie was home to 5,000 employees at General Electric Transportation. Over the last several years, roughly 1,500 of those jobs were lost due to circumstances separate from Wabtec’s acquisition of the facility.
GE and now Wabtec employees, salaried and union alike, have built a rich heritage here in the Erie region and continue to be a valued part of our community. Their dedication and hard work has been an anchor of our “building things” culture and has forged a strong foundation for future generations of talented artisans and laborers.
There is an opportunity for Erie’s facility to remain a viable operation for Wabtec and strong economic generator within the Erie region. The economic impact report demonstrates the urgency in an agreement being reached so that the company and its employees can remain a steadfast cornerstone within Erie County.
Do you own a business in Erie? Do you know your economic impact on the local economy? Contact the Chamber to learn more about economic impact reports and how to understand your business’s impact on the region: (814) 454 – 7191 x 141.
Note: Economic Analysis was conducted using IMPLAN
Full Report: Economic Impact Report – Wabtec and the Erie Community