Jobs and the economy are often the top issues of concern among citizens and many elected officials run for office promising to create jobs.

That’s why I found a recently published list of the largest midstate employers interesting. Who do you think are our area’s largest employers?  Here are some hints: government, health care, education, and service industries are the top 15 employers. They are:

  • Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (20,770 Capitol Complex, 72,437 total)
  • Us Government (14,263 local employees; 5.73 Million total)
  • Wellspan Health (14,801 local employees)
  • Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and College of Medicine (10,536 local employees)
  • Lancaster General Health (7,569 local employees)
  • Pinnacle Health System (6,314 local employees)
  • JFC Staffing (5,877 local employees)
  • Highmark Health (formerly Highmark Blue Shield; 3,800 local employees)
  • Summit Health (3,258 local employees)
  • Holy Spirit (2,588 local employees)
  • York County (2,570 local employees)
  • Harrisburg Area Community College (2,526 local employees)
  • Select Medical Corp. (2,201 local employees)
  • Lancaster County (1,969 local employees)
  • Comcast Corporation (1,801 local employees)

Central Pennsylvania is obviously lucky to have such large, well respected, and successful local entities supplying jobs to people. However, it does beg the question: what about manufacturing and other industries?

The United States was founded in Philadelphia, saved at Gettysburg, and ushered into the industrial age by countless manufacturers across our Commonwealth. Many of those industries no longer exist or have moved to other states and nations.

Pennsylvania with its Keystone location is within a day’s drive of about one-third of the nation’s population. Yet, manufacturers aren’t coming here — despite the promises of candidates for public office to promote jobs and job opportunities.

That’s why anyone running for office should be asked what they’re going to do to make our state and nation more competitive. I believe it begins with government living within its means, less spending and borrowing, lower taxes, and less government red tape.

As government has grown, job creators like Baldwin Locomotive Works, Bethlehem Steel, Carnegie Steel, GC Murphy, Jones & Laughlin Steel, Newberry stores, Quaker State headquarters, Pennsylvania Railroad, Philco, Reading Company, Rolling Rock Beer, Schmidt’s Beer, Scott Paper, Strawbridge’s, Susquehanna Radio Corporation, Westinghouse Electric, Wanamaker’s, Woolworth’s, and Wyeth have either disappeared, been sold, or merged with other companies.

Please remember these former Pennsylvania employers when someone says “business can afford it.”

— State Sen. Mike Folmer is a Republican representing the 48th District, which includes parts of York County.

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