Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The 2013 annual report by The Institute for Public Policy & Economic Development indicates Northeastern Pennsylvania is showing signs of an economic turnaround.
The eighth annual Indicators Report, to be released and discussed at a forum Thursday at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, tracks the region’s performance on an array of categories, including demographics, public safety, jobs and the economy.
Reports covering more than 120 indicators for Lackawanna and Luzerne counties, as well as statewide data, will be discussed next week. And reports from the institute’s five task forces also will be provided to show data on health and health care, jobs and the local economy, education, housing, transportation and land use.
Several macrotrends have broken Philadelphia’s way: The city’s population is growing again. Residential building is up, and the city has seen an influx of college-educated young adults over the last decade.
But one trend remains stubbornly negative, as three recent research reports make clear: The city continues to lose jobs. The latest such evidence was included in the Center City District’s “State of Center City, 2013″ report, released Monday.
The special-services district can rightly brag about the increased vibrancy in the area wedged between the rivers and Vine and Pine Streets. The city is cleaner since 1990, serious crime is down, and the churn in retail stores and restaurants is source of small-business strength.
Employment, though, remains a weakness, and if the long-term trend of job destruction does not change, it’s hard to imagine that the city could continue to maintain momentum in other areas.
Here in a city once embarrassed by its Grand Ole Opry roots, a place that sat on the sidelines while its Southern sisters boomed economically, it is hard to find a resident who does not break into the goofy grin of the newly popular when the subject of Nashville’s status comes up.
That report in last week’s Sunday News undoubtedly gave advocates of agricultural preservation and open space cause to celebrate. After a 30-year period (from 1980 to 2010) of 43.3 percent population growth, the percentage is projected to be 25.5 percent by 2040.
While that translates into another 132,555 residents — moving the population from 519,445 in 2010 to 652,000 in 2040 — what gives us pause is the demographics of the projected growth.
Lancaster County planners said the biggest bump in population is expected to come from people older than 65. In other words, the county, already on its way to becoming a retirement mecca, will be growing by graying.
Berks County is in the cross hairs of grocery retailer Wegmans, but somehow the ninth-largest county in Pennsylvania has never been the target.
Now Berks falls between a new distribution hub in Schuylkill County and some of its stores.
This spring, the Rochester, N.Y., upscale grocer opened the $70 million warehouse in Cass and Foster townships, Wegmans’ third and largest warehouse in Schuylkill.
The company said in May that the move completes a distribution hub for fresh and frozen foods. More than 200 new employees were hired to staff it. The distribution hub was subsidized with state incentives of $731,650 in opportunity zone and job training money and job creation tax credits.
For whatever reason, Marylanders are crossing the Mason-Dixon Line and moving into southern York County.
According to the US Census Department, during the last decade housing units increased in York County by 12.8%. Northern migration from Maryland was a substantial part of that gain, according to Steve Snell, executive director of the Realtors Association of York & Adams Counties.
I wonder what is luring these people out of Maryland? The adjacent Maryland counties are Hanford, Baltimore and Carroll.
The 717 area code is running out of numbers. Area code 717 was split in 1998. The northern counties, formerly in 717, became 570. Now it seems the 717 area code is back to square one.
Population growth in South Central Pennsylvania is creating a need for more phone numbers. York County is projecting a 12.4% increase over the 2000 census. Lancaster County will also show an increase of about 7%. Other “717″ counties are growing as well.
Two options are being considered. 1. An overlay like 610 & 484 or 2. creating another entirely new area code. 73% of York County business owners who responded to a survey said they preferred the overlay option. Either option costs businesses money.
The Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission is holding hearings to get public opinion on how to proceed.