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Manitowoc Crane’s Departure To Cause Economic Ripple Effect, Economic Development Director Says

Company Is Among Areas Top Five Largest Employers, Director Says

Dan Dvorscak (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The city and county of Manitowoc will feel the pinch when a company that bares their name leaves next year.

Manitowoc Crane is relocating its manufacturing to Pennsylvania and laying off 528 people. The company’s headquarters, and some marketers, engineers, and corporate employees will remain in Manitowoc.

Once the company completes its relocation to its plant in Shady Grove, Pennsylvania, an economic ripple effect beyond the laid off employees will be felt in Manitowoc, said Peter Wills, head of the local economic development group, Progress Lakeshore.

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“More of the impact isn’t as much of the direct employees of Manitowoc as much as it is the companies that support them, that do work—whether it’s metal fabrication or providing parts or related services—to the company,” Wills said.

The crane company isn’t the area’s biggest employer, but it’s in the top five.

The company’s welders and fabricators make $28 to $38 an hour, Wills said.

There are 1,600 jobs open in Manitowoc County, “but typically at a different wage rate than what we had with the tenure and the duration that many of these longtime employees at Manitowoc Crane were at,” Wills said.

The departure will also reduce room tax collections as fewer business travelers will stay at local hotels. Wills isn’t sure yet how much of a property tax impact a vacant factory will have. The assessed value of the property is around $23 million, Wills said.

The company has been in production along the lakeshore in Manitowoc since 1902.