A surge in natural gas production could lead to a modest increase in manufacturing jobs in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metro area, according to a report by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
The report, released Thursday, forecasts a net gain of 994 manufacturing jobs in the region between 2012 and 2020.
The report credits a nationwide demand for pipelines and machinery to produce and transport oil and natural gas, coupled with cheap natural gas as a fuel and chemical feedstock, for reigniting American manufacturing.
Basic organic chemicals; iron and steel mills; fabricated metals; machinery; nonmetallic minerals; resin, rubber and fiber; plastics and rubber; agricultural chemicals; and petroleum and coal products are the nine manufacturing sectors featured in the report.
Fabricated metals and plastics and rubber are the two highest-employing manufacturing sectors in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, the report states. In 2012, those industries employed 4,164 and 3,078 people, respectively. By 2020, 4,785 people will work in fabricated metals and 3,437 will work in plastics and rubber, an increase of about 15 percent and 12 percent, respectively, the report states.