After more than three years of sluggish job growth, the Lehigh Valley has replaced all of the roughly 25,000 jobs wiped out during the country’s worst economic crisis in generations.
The region had 351,400 jobs in April, a new high, according to data released Wednesday by the state Department of Labor and Industry. The old record of 350,200 was set in June 2007, just before the Great Recession hit, bringing 2 1/2 years of plant closures and cutbacks that put the local labor market in a tailspin.
The number of jobs in the Valley hit a recessionary low of 324,700 in January 2010 and has since been slowly recovering.
The private sector is driving job growth. Gains in warehousing, tourism and business services were partially offset by cuts in government and public school jobs. Warehousing and business services — a broad jobs category that includes bookkeepers, janitors, landscapers and engineers — both hit new highs in April.