NEPIRC study: Nearly $113 million in losses imperils flood-ravaged manufacturers and jeopardizes at least 1,954 regional manufacturing jobs

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(HANOVER TOWNSHIP, PA – October 20, 2011) – A newly compiled report released today shows that manufacturers throughout northeastern Pennsylvania suffered flood-related damage of nearly $113 million and possibly much more due to the early September flooding triggered by Tropical Storm Lee, jeopardizing at least 1,954 regional manufacturing jobs and leaving the region’s manufacturers in dire need of flood recovery assistance initiatives.

The Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center (NEPIRC) report represents the most detailed analysis to date of the impact of recent flooding upon the region’s most significant employment sector, which provides one out of every seven jobs within northeastern Pennsylvania’s flood-affected counties.

The report contains flood impact statistics derived from email exchanges, phone calls and interviews with more than 500 regional manufacturers within six FEMA-declared Disaster Area counties. In addition to quantifying and categorizing more than $65.3 million of direct flood impact and nearly $50 million of indirect flood costs, the analysis also makes recommendations for flood response programs based upon direct manufacturer input and regional industry demand.

“We have directly contacted many state and federal agencies with the findings of this study and are giving them the information they need to help them make the right choice in developing programs to aid flood-affected manufacturers,” said NEPIRC Executive Director Eric Joseph Esoda. To date, NEPIRC has spoken with agencies and legislators in Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

“The scale of the damage caused by the flooding is truly unprecedented,” Esoda said, noting that more than 96 percent of the region’s manufacturers reported some type of productivity disruption. “With so many companies hurt by this flooding, it only makes a successful recovery effort even more vital to the economic well-being of our region,” said Esoda.  

The nation’s unstable economic condition lends even more gravity to the situation, since manufacturing companies in northeastern Pennsylvania provide many of the better paying jobs available for workers. The study confirms that 1,954 manufacturing jobs are currently at risk of being lost due to continued plant closure as a result of the flood.

Although the report is comprehensive in scope, many manufacturers warned that the true impact of Tropical Storm Lee has yet to be determined, as they continue to incur lost sales opportunities and remain unsure of the return of their customers once production is restored.  

“This could be just the tip of the iceberg,” Esoda cautioned, stating that if the companies most severely impacted by the flood do not return to production soon, their customer base may go elsewhere, as could the 1,954 jobs they support.

With federal and state initiatives to accelerate post-flood business recovery efforts still undefined, NEPIRC is currently helping flood-affected manufacturers free of charge.

The entire eight-page NEPIRC report, entitled “Special Report: The Quantified Impact of Tropical Storm Lee Flooding on Northeastern Pennsylvania’s Manufacturing Industry” is available to download here.

ABOUT NEPIRC:

NEPIRC, as one of 59 nationwide Manufacturing Extension Partnership offices, receives federal, state and local support, along with client fees in exchange for professional services, to enhance the profitability, long-term growth and overall competitiveness of northeastern Pennsylvania’s manufacturing sector. Last year alone, NEPIRC’s engagements with clients enabled them to realize more than $50.4 million of bottom-line impact and create or retain a total of 1,664 regional jobs.