Pennsylvania benefited from a strategic location on the eastern seaboard, excellent inland waterways, and abundant natural resources, especially coal. All contributed to Pennsylvania’s economic growth. Farming, lumbering, mining, manufacturing, and trade were all important activities in early colonial times, as they are today. Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and a great many smaller cities and towns led Pennsylvania’s economic growth. Pittsburgh became a mighty producer of iron and steel, while Philadelphia became a more diversified manufacturing center. Factories, coal mines, oil wells, stone quarries, timberlands, and farms gave Pennsylvania a greater degree of self-sufficiency than many countries.
Although a general exodus of both population and industry has occurred from states in the Northeast since the early 1970s, Pennsylvania has retained a strong overall economy and ranks high among the states in annual gross personal income. In 2008, 6,051,000 people were employed in the state. While today manufacturing remains an important sector of Pennsylvania’s economy, employing 11 percent of the labor force, by far the largest share of workers are now employed providing various services. Some 37 percent of the labor force is in the service sector, which includes such activities as business services, entertainment, education, law, health care, and recreation.
Another 19 percent are employed in wholesale and retail trade. Of the remaining workers, 13 percent are employed by federal, state, or local government, including those serving in the military; 18 percent work in finance, insurance, or real estate; 5 percent in construction; 19 percent in transportation or public utilities; 2 percent in farming (including agricultural services), forestry, or fishing; and less than 1 percent in mining. In 2007, 15 percent of Pennsylvania’s workers were unionized. "Pennsylvania" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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