The institute’s chief research officer, Andrew Chu, said:
Wilkes Barr — According to Andrew Chu, the institute’s principal research director, economic diversity is defined as the spread of economic activity across a wide range of industries.
The Institute recently completed a study to identify growth opportunities for economic diversification. The study examined employment and wage activity against local, state and national benchmarks.
Findings suggest that Lackawanna and Lucerne counties are well suited to continue focusing on their existing strengths. In doing so, the region would be able to build on its current competitive advantage given the continued tightness of the labor market. Amid this uncertainty, investing in new talent pipelines can be challenging.
Chu said the region’s main industries are medical and social assistance, transportation and warehousing, retail and manufacturing.
In terms of employment by occupation, jobs in transportation and goods movement roles are the most prominent (compared to state and national level administrative and administrative support positions).
Transportation and materials movement have grown the most over the past decade, adding 10,142 jobs, Chu said. Business and finance jobs followed, with far fewer positions added (2,344).
“Considering its proximity to Interstates 80 and 81, as well as multiple ports of entry, it’s certainly not surprising that transportation and warehousing play such a large role in northeastern Pennsylvania,” he said. Chu says.
Chu said the healthcare industry is expected to grow despite talent shortages and supply chain issues. Health care, already a strength, should be a priority for economic and workforce development.
In particular, the fields of outpatient care and home care are expected to expand significantly.
Lackawanna and Luzerne counties are projected to create a total of 4,677 health and social assistance jobs within the next year, said Chu, more than all other job openings expected in the region. Stated.
Although existing sectors should remain central focus, the survey found several new sectors ripe for economic development. For example, the renewable energy industry is still small in this region. It has just four employees in two counties. Increasing investment in this area could also help improve economic resilience.
Tourism-related businesses offer another potential opportunity to boost economic resilience. Prior to the pandemic, Chu said visitor spending in the two county areas was up 3% year-over-year on average, dating back to 2014.
Tourist numbers in the region have dropped significantly since early 2020, but Chu said he expects tourist numbers to pick up as the country recovers.
Wages in this sector are below average, but tourism growth expands the economic base of the region and has significant knock-on effects in other sectors. By expanding tourism-related industries, regions may be able to build assets while diversifying their economies.
This study compared the economic characteristics of northeastern Pennsylvania with those of several comparable regions. They include Altoona, Pennsylvania. Asheville, North Carolina. Binghamton, New York. Canton Massillon, Ohio. Duluth, Wisconsin, Minnesota. Lewiston, Idaho – Washington. Spokane – Spokane Valley, Washington. and York Hanover, Pennsylvania.
“Examining the health of NEPA alongside the health of these peer regions revealed that we indeed have a strong foundation,” Zhu added. “As long as we leverage what we already have, we can carefully plan for growing in new and innovative ways.”