Electric transportation manufacturing, repair, and maintenance offer growth opportunities for sidelined industries, and could contribute to economic recovery for the state coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic
HARRISBURG, May 28, 2020 — Today national business association Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) released a new report concluding that more than 350 Pennsylvania firms, many of them in industries and geographies that have seen declines in recent years, could easily transition to serving the supply chain for electric vehicles, which is expected to grow at a rapid rate in the coming years. As Pennsylvania, like many other states, considers economic recovery strategies following the COVID-19 public health crisis, the unique opportunity to capitalize on electric transportation growth should get serious attention from policymakers.
“Pennsylvania has the chance to be in the driver’s seat for the coming electric transportation revolution,” said Daniel Bloom, Principal at AEE. “This report reveals a real and immediate opportunity to nurture an electric vehicle supply chain in Pennsylvania, generating well-paying jobs where they are needed across the Commonwealth.”
“Electric Transportation Supply Chain in Pennsylvania,” prepared for AEE by BW Research Partnership, a global leader in workforce and economic development research, finds that, as of 2019, the electric transportation industry in Pennsylvania already supported nearly 4,400 jobs across 151 different companies and accounted for more than $430 million in gross state product – as many jobs as natural gas extraction and as much economic activity as sporting goods stores in the state. Moreover, jobs in the state’s electric transportation industry were at that time projected to grow 24% between 2019 and 2024, compared with 3% growth across statewide employment over the same timeframe. For the same period, consumer adoption of electric vehicles in Pennsylvania was projected to grow 400%.
While COVID-19 has slowed most aspects of Pennsylvania’s economy, including the automotive sector, the fundamental drivers behind transportation electrification – falling purchase prices, rapidly improving technology, and consumer desire for vehicles that are cleaner and cheaper to fuel and maintain – remain. As consumers, municipalities, and private-sector companies turn to electric vehicles, there will be significant growth in the supply chain for these vehicles.
Among those that stand to benefit from this growth are industries that can easily be retooled to supply the electric transportation market. This report identified 351 Pennsylvania-based firms in related industries that could quickly and easily convert to electric transportation activity. Another 190 firms could transition with slightly more time and investment. A number of these firms are part of industries that have seen declines in recent years, but their workers have skills that are directly applicable to the electric vehicle supply chain. These include assemblers, fabricators, and press machine setters.
Key findings of the report include:
Current jobs in the electric transportation supply chain are particularly abundant in Allegheny, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Bucks, and Lancaster counties.
Erie, Berks, Chester, and Allegheny counties could especially benefit from growth associated with electric transportation. With employment declines between 2014 and 2019 in industries that could easily transition to electric transportation concentrated in these counties, growth in this sector presents an opportunity for companies and workers to regain their footing in the economy.
In Pennsylvania, electric transportation growth should create additional jobs, not just replacement jobs. Pennsylvania is strong in electric component, motor, and generator manufacturing – sectors that are poised to grow with electric transportation, not simply replace conventional automotive business.
About four in 10 (1,800) current electric transportation-related jobs are in repair and maintenance, with manufacturing accounting for almost another 1,000 jobs, while the wholesale trade and distribution segment accounts for 18% of jobs.
Related industries ripe for being retooled for the electric transportation industry include automobile manufacturing, motor and generator manufacturing, and other electric component manufacturing.
“This report shines light on a significant opportunity to drive private investment, preserve 4,400 Pennsylvania jobs, and create thousands more while generating economic growth that will be sorely needed after the coronavirus crisis has passed,” said Bloom. “As they look to restart the economy, lawmakers should explore ways to expedite the deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, which will stimulate job growth across the EV supply chain, utilize homegrown fuel, and position Pennsylvania to capitalize on the long-term growth opportunity associated with vehicle electrification.”
About Advanced Energy Economy:
Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) is a national association of businesses that are making the energy we use secure, clean, and affordable. Advanced energy encompasses a broad range of products and services that constitute the best available technologies for meeting energy needs today and tomorrow. AEE’s mission is to transform public policy to enable rapid growth of advanced energy businesses. Engaged at the federal level and in more than a dozen states around the country, AEE represents more than 100 companies in the $238 billion U.S. advanced energy industry, which employs 3.6 million U.S. workers. Learn more at www.aee.net, track the latest news @AEEnet.