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Erie continues to be known as a manufacturing town, a claim to fame the city has owned for decades. The city enjoyed a very modest increase in manufacturing job gains over the last year, a sign that manufacturing continues to keep its footing in the local economy. Perhaps another sign of the times, manufacturing is no longer Erie’s leading employment sector. Manufacturing now claims the number two spot behind education and health services.

While the unemployment rate in Erie hovers around eight percent, nearly 23,000 people are employed by Erie manufacturers. As of December 2012, six of Erie County’s top 50 employers were manufacturing companies. Plastics manufacturing is especially prominent, with 10% of all plastics produced in the United States either manufactured or finished in Erie-based plastic plants.

Lord Corporation, a worldwide leader in coatings and adhesives, vibration and motion control, and magnetically responsive technologies, originated in Erie nearly 90 years ago. With annual sales exceeding $850 million.

Plastek Industries entered Erie’s manufacturing scene in 1971, and remains headquartered here. Plastek specializes in injection molding and proprietary plastic packaging materials. Now comprised of four companies, the company has a presence in Brazil and the U.K. as well.

ERIEZ Manufacturing Company, also headquartered in Erie, supplies metal detection, materials feeding, and magnetic separation equipment to 80 international markets on five continents. The ERIEZ Technical Center houses over 100 pieces of specialized testing equipment, making it the industry's largest magnetic, vibratory and inspection system test laboratory.

The Manufacturer’s Association of Northwest Pennsylvania continues to thrive in Erie, with over 4,500 member companies benefitting from its services. Established by manufacturing community members in 1906, the organization continues to be a strong advocate for manufacturing in Erie.
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