Remarks prepared for delivery on Thursday, November 13, 2014.

 

Testimony of Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Rob Wonderling on City Council Resolution 140869

November 13, 2014

 

Good afternoon Council President Clarke and members of City Council’s Committee of the Whole. I am Rob Wonderling, President and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce (GPCC). Thank you for the opportunity to testify today on Resolution 140869, which authorizes the Committee of the Whole to hold hearings to fully explore opportunities to further establish the Philadelphia region as an energy hub.

 

As City Council begins considering how best to help in positioning Philadelphia and the region as an energy hub city, it may be worth first considering several key economic indicators.

 

The first indicator is 1.3 percent.  That is how much total annual average employment declined in Pennsylvania between 2007 and 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 

The second indicator:  259.3 percent. That is how much employment in the oil and natural gas industries increased in Pennsylvania over the same time period.  That means 15,114 new jobs.

 

While the majority of this job growth occurred in the Marcellus shale region in southwestern Pennsylvania, the American Petroleum Institute reports that total jobs supported by the oil and gas industry throughout Pennsylvania reached 102,668 in 2012 –  and are expected to rise to over 220,000 jobs by 2020.

 

And here is one last key indicator: 8 out of 10.  Eight of the 10 major industry sectors in Philadelphia lost jobs over the past decade, part of a decades-long trend that saw Philadelphia lose hundreds of thousands of jobs as our economy transitioned from one based on manufacturing to one based more today on higher education, health care, leisure, tourism and hospitality, and a more service-oriented economy.

 

The question before us today is: How can the business community work with City Council, the Mayor’s Office and city government to reverse these local trends, tap into the enormous potential the energy industry represents for this city and region, and bring family-sustaining jobs back to Philadelphia?

 

Drawing on the important work of the Mayor’s Manufacturing Task Force, a true partnership of the local business community, City Council, the Mayor’s Office, PIDC and others, the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce would like to recommend a series of action steps for Council’s consideration. If implemented over the next 3 years, these steps can go a long way towards creating a more vibrant economic future that includes the manufacturing and energy industries – and real, sustainable job growth in Philadelphia.

 

Action Step 1:  Expand the city’s existing Job Creation Tax Credit program to incent manufacturin