Thursday, May 19, 2011


Bethlehem Steel's closed manufacturing facility in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. This site later became a new multi-million dollar Sands Casino Resort in 2009.
Pennsylvania's 2008 total gross state product (GSP) of $553.3 billion ranks the state 6th in the nation. If Pennsylvania were an independent country, its economy would rank as the 18th largest in the world. On a per-capita basis, Pennsylvania's per-capita GSP of $35,641 ranks 26th among the 50 states. Philadelphia in the southeast corner, Pittsburgh in the southwest corner, Erie in the northwest corner, Scranton-Wilkes-Barre in the northeast corner, and Allentown-Bethlehem-Eastonin the east central region are urban manufacturing centers. Much of the Commonwealth is rural; this dichotomy affects state politics as well as the state economy.Philadelphia is home to six Fortune 500 companies, with more located in suburbs like King of Prussia; it's a leader in the financial and insurance industry.
Pittsburgh is home to eight Fortune 500 companies, including U.S. Steel, PPG Industries, and H.J. Heinz. In all, Pennsylvania is home to fifty Fortune 500companies. Erie is also home to GE Transportation Systems, which is the largest producer of train locomotives in the United States.
As in the US as a whole and in most states, the largest private employer in the Commonwealth is Wal-Mart, followed by the University of Pennsylvania.
As of January 2010, the state's unemployment rate is 8.8%.


The famous Crayola crayon company is based in Easton.
The first nationally chartered bank in the United States, the Bank of North America, was founded in 1781 in Philadelphia. After a series of mergers, the Bank of North America is part of Wachovia, which uses national charter 1.
Pennsylvania is also the home to the first nationally-chartered bank under the 1863 National Banking Act. That year, the Pittsburgh Savings & Trust Company received a national charter and renamed itself the First National Bank of Pittsburgh as part of the National Banking Act. That bank is still in existence today as PNC Financial Services, and remains based in Pittsburgh. PNC is the state's largest bank, and the sixth-largest in the United States.


Pennsylvania ranks 19th overall in agricultural production, but 1st in mushrooms, 3rd in Christmas trees and layer chickens, 4th in nursery and sod, milk, corn for silage, grapes grown (including juice grapes), and horses production. It also ranks 8th in the nation in Winemaking.


Casino gambling was legalized in Pennsylvania in 2004. Currently, there are nine casinos across the state with three under construction or in planning. Only horse racing, slot machines, and electronic table games were legal in Pennsylvania, although a bill to legalize table games was being negotiated in the fall of 2009. Tables games such as poker, roulette, black jack and dice were finally approved by the state legislature in January 2010, being signed into law by the Governor on January 7. Sports betting is illegal.
Governor Ed Rendell has considered legalizing video poker machines in bars and private clubs, since an estimated 17,000 operate illegally across the state. Under this plan, any establishment with a liquor license would be allowed up to 5 machines. All machines would be connected to the state's computer system, like commercial casinos. The state would impose a 50% tax on net gambling revenues, after winning players have been paid, with the remaining 50% going to the establishment owners.

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