Even more important than housing, the economy of an area provides residents with jobs and supports a tax base. And while the quantity and quality of jobs support our quality of life, evermore so, the quantity and quality of our labor force will define local economies. For the county, change in employment has been fairly modest over the last decade or more. From 2002 to 2015, there was an increase of 1.4% or 1,786 jobs countywide, despite a population loss of nearly 20,000 people.
When looking at employment change within specific Planning Districts, differences can be both great and small depending on the size of the employment base. Areas with a smaller employment base tend to have greater swings in employment change. For the Alle-Kiski Planning District, employment change from 2002 to 2015 has been mostly flat, with an increase of just 25 jobs or .2%.
Of that employment change, industries that have seen the most growth within the Alle-Kiski Planning District include wholesale trade; mining, oil, and gas extraction; and business support and waste management. Industry strengths are typified by the concentration of a particular industry in an area when compared to a larger area. Westmoreland County’s strengths lie in industries such as professional, scientific, and technical services; healthcare and social assistance; and mining, oil, and gas extraction. When compared nationally, the Alle-Kiski Planning District has a higher concentration of jobs in educational services, utilities, and wholesale trade. Construction is also a regional strength worth noting for the All-Kiski region as this industry is more concentrated regionally compared to the county.
As with change in employment, wages across the county have increased over the last 17 years by 8%. Wages within the Alle-Kiski Planning District increased by 3% since 2000. Overall, wages have increased both regionally and countywide. Although, the dip in wages in 2010 for the Alle-Kiski region suggests the Great Recession impacted wages to a greater extent than for the county as a whole.
While wage, employment, and labor force trends within the Alle-Kiski Planning District are similar to those countywide, through the Planning District process, strategies can be developed specifically for the Alle-Kiski region to further its economic and employment goals.
Don’t forget, the next Alle-Kiski Planning District meeting is on July 29, 2019 at 6:30 PM in Allegheny Township. Municipal officials are invited to attend. Please RSVP here.