The economy of an area provides residents with jobs and supports a tax base, but what truly defines our local economies? While the quality and quantity of jobs support our quality of life, it’s the quantity and quality of the labor force that defines our local economies. For the county, employment change has been relatively modest over the last decade or more. Despite a population loss of almost 20,000 people countywide, there was an increase of 1.4% or 1,786 jobs from 2002 to 2015.
When looking at employment change within specific Planning Districts, depending on the size of the employment base, differences can be both great and small. Greater swings of employment change tend to be seen in areas with a smaller employment base. For the Central Planning District, employment has been declining over the last decade. From 2002 to 2015, employment in the district has declined by almost 3% or 1,556 jobs.
Taking a closer look at employment industries within the Central Planning District, health care and social assistance is the largest industry, making up roughly 20% of all jobs with retail trade and manufacturing rounding out the top three industries. Industry strengths are typified by the concentration of a particular industry in an area when compared to a larger area. The Central Planning District, when compared nationally, has a higher concentration of jobs in educational services, utilities, and transportation and warehousing. When compared to the county, management of companies and enterprises is a regional strength worth noting for the district.
Although countywide average wages have increased by 8% from 2000 to 2017, Central Planning District average wages have stayed mostly flat, with an increase of about .6% since 2000. The dip in wages from 2000 to 2017 suggests the Great Recession impacted wages to a greater extent for the Central District than for the county as a whole.
While wage, employment, and labor force trends within the Central Planning District have been relatively flat or declining when compared to the county over the last decade, through the Planning District process, together we can develop strategies specific to the Central Planning District to further its economic and employment goals.
Don’t forget to join us at the kickoff meeting for the Central Planning District on Thursday, January 27th, 2022 at 6:30 PM at the Westmoreland County Courthouse, 2 N Main St., Greensburg, PA 15601. Municipal officials are invited to attend, please RSVP here.
Housing is one of the most basic components of any community. It plays a significant role in a community’s physical and social environment from providing shelter to building neighborhood connections.
During the creation of Reimagining Our Westmoreland, when asked for top housing priorities, residents across the county clearly expressed townhomes, apartments, and condominiums as a top priority. When asked about their perceptions of housing needs in the county, the overwhelming response was that we needed to add a mixture of housing options. Additionally, the location of these options are important as residents voiced strong support for better transportation choices, whether that was by car, train, bus, bike, or foot.
Despite residents’ reported housing priorities, the data shows that since 2000, there has been a higher percent increase in single-family housing units compared to townhomes, apartments, and condominiums, 78%, and 22% respectively.
Through the Planning District process and plan implementation, the Central Planning District will analyze historical trends and assess community growth projections to identify potential strategies to address short-term and long-term housing needs while reflecting the needs, wants, and priorities of residents.
The first meeting is on January 27th, 2022 at 6:30 PM. Municipal officials are invited to RSVP here.