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COMMERCE SECRETARY COMMENTS ON 38 PERCENT INCREASE IN NEW MANUFACTURING FIRMS IN PENNSYLVANIA

 HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- State Commerce Secretary Andrew T. Greenberg said today that an independent industrial report on new manufacturing firms in Pennsylvania -- including startups and relocations -- shows a 38 percent increase in the last 12 months.
 The 1994 Harris Industrial Directory report on Pennsylvania shows 655 new manufacturing firms -- which includes plant openings, relocations and newly established companies -- have started operations in the Commonwealth in the past 12 months -- August 1992 to August 1993. Those figures compare to 472 new manufacturing firms in the prior 12-month reporting period.
 From his Twinsburg, Ohio, base, Harris Publishing Co. President Robert Harris said the new report shows the state's efforts to cultivate a business climate that promotes expansion and development are paying off.
 "During recent interviews to compile the Pennsylvania database, executives in sectors ranging from chemicals manufacturing to producers of apparel and textile products, are saying that the future looks brighter than it has in years," Harris said.
 "Our research indicates a substantial increase in new manufacturing companies as well as existing firms that are expanding. Entrepreneurial spirit is on the rebound."
 Harris credits a large part of Pennsylvania's success to the Governor's Response Team, the agency of the Department of Commerce created by Gov. Robert P. Casey in 1987 to assist business by expediting financing and providing technical assistance. The Response Team has worked with more than 400 firms in the last six years to help create or retain 200,000 jobs.
 Asked why the turn-around in Pennsylvania's manufacturing sector is happening, Harris said he thinks results start at the top. "When Gov. Casey instituted his Response Team, things began to take shape," Harris said.
 In addition to its report of the increase in new manufacturing firms in the commonwealth, Harris Publishing Co. said there was a 50 percent decrease in the number of Pennsylvania businesses that closed their doors last year.
 The Harris Industrial Directory, the most comprehensive report on Pennsylvania's manufacturing sector, lists 18,824 manufacturing companies in the state. Some of the data were provided by the state Commerce Department at the request of the publishing company.
 Greenberg said the report is a credit to the state's aggressive efforts to attract and support business and reflects the competitive business climate of the commonwealth.
 "Clearly, even in this prolonged weak economic recovery, this 38 percent increase in new manufacturing firms shows Pennsylvania is on the right course," Greenberg said.
 "The Harris Directory research is hard, independent testimony to Pennsylvania's fundamental economic strength.
 "Along with recent land-office business in state economic development programs and a record performance in exports, the rise in manufacturing starts is a positive sign for Pennsylvania," Greenberg said.
 In the last fiscal year, the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) approved nearly $100 million in low-interest economic development loans -- the second highest total in the program's 37-year history.
 Since the start of the current fiscal year July 1, PIDA is ahead of that record pace with more than $35 million in new economic development loans.
 According to the Massachusetts Institute for Social and Economic Research (MISER), Pennsylvania showed a 16 percent increase in exports from 1990 to 1992, compared with a national figure of 13.8 percent. Pennsylvania exported goods valued at $12.07 billion in 1992, about twice the value of exports in 1987.
 Greenberg said the emphasis of Pennsylvania's economic development strategy will continue to be attracting and retaining jobs, helping homegrown businesses modernize and improve their competitiveness and helping businesses reach international markets.
 "Business continues to express confidence in Pennsylvania, and the Commonwealth is helping firms face the competitive challenges of the 21st century," Greenberg said.
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 /CONTACT: Ron Jury of the Pennsylvania Department of Commerce, 717-783-1132/


CO: Pennsylvania Department of Commerce ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:

MP -- PH003 -- 8748 09/03/93 10:19 EDT
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