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Steel used to be big business in Pennsylvania they say … USED to be.

Back in the mid 1800s Andrew Carnegie made Pittsburgh the central hub of America’s burgeoning steel industry. Coal was abundant, and a desperate labor force from Europe came together to create a booming business that became well known around the world. US Steel and The Bethlehem Steel Company employed thousands and fueled the Commonwealth’s exponential growth. The steel industry hits it’s peak in 1969, but began to decline as lower wage producers around the world created a price war that America couldn’t win. Pennsylvania is now littered with the hollow remains of old steel factories and towns that used to house their countless workers. Pittsburgh, Reading, Harrisburg, and Philadelphia have all felt the effects of steel’s diminishing power in Pennsylvania.

Yet steel still remains. 

According to a report prepared for the Pennsylvania Steel Alliance, the industry is still responsible for generating more than $9.35 billion a year for PA. What’s more, the average steel worker makes over $70,000 a year! So where are these steel jobs you might ask? Look no further than York, Pennsylvania.

York has long been known as the manufacturing epicenter of the east coast, if not the US. Huge companies keep plants in York to produce everything from potato chips to Harley-Davidson Motorcycles. Steel is also a part of the business landscape, with companies like Three M Tool fabricating stainless steel baskets by the thousands for various industries around the world. Companies like Boeing, Honeywell, and Exxon Mobile are frequent customers of this York-based manufacturer. Their stainless steel baskets are used for everything from ultrasonic cleaning to waste disposal.

While Pennsylvania is not likely to ever return to its former glory as the world’s leading steel producer, companies like Three M Tool shine a bright spot on an industry that still provides high paying jobs and economic impact to the Commonwealth. The ingenuity and innovation of these specialized steel manufacturers makes them a special part of the industry’s history.

So the next time you hear someone make mention of Pennsylvania’s steel industry as something of the past, remind them that steel is still alive and well in Pennsylvania!


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