Using food manufacturing to nourish other jobs

Philadelphia's manufacturing relies on food production, which does have advantages in our city's economy. One of them is that food production doesn't require as skilled a workforce as another area job producer -- pharmaceuticals.

"That can provide opportunities for people to get employment with lesser skills," said Philip Hopkins, director of consulting at the Philadelphia office of IHS Corp. Hopkins was a project manager for the Manufacturing Task Force's recently-released report titled "Manufacturing Growth Strategy for Philadelphia." (Click here to read my story in Friday's Philadelphia Inquirer about the food business in the region and here to read an earlier story about the report.)

Part of what makes one sector more valuable than another is how many indirect jobs each generates. For example, the study points out that 100 new jobs in food production would yield an additional 177 jobs at companies supplying the food companies. However, by contrast, 100 new jobs in the petroleum industry would yield 887 additional jobs from suppliers.