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.