Gov. Wolf Says Manufacturing Tax Credit Could Boost Pennsylvania Jobs, Industry

Pittsburgh may not be the steel town it once was, with the economy of the state’s second largest city these days tied more to hospitals and higher education than smoke stacks. But manufacturing is still a huge part of Pennsylvania’s economy.

The sector employs more than 571,000 people in the commonwealth — including more than 30,000 in the York-Hanover area alone.

The average compensation for someone who works in manufacturing, not just assembly line workers but plant managers and other executives, is more than $69,000. That’s well above Pennsylvania’s median household income, which was $52,548 in 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

With manufacturing’s above-average wages, new Gov. Tom Wolf has identified increasing the number of manufacturing jobs as one of his top economic priorities.

Read more:

http://www.ydr.com/business/ci_27743500/gov-wolf-says-manufacturing-tax-credit-could-boost

Amazon To Add 400 Jobs At Hazle Twp. Facility

The Amazon fulfillment center in the Humboldt Industrial Park in Hazle Township is growing.

The company said Wednesday it is adding 400 full-time positions to the 1,500 already there.

Kelly Cheeseman, an Amazon spokeswoman, said the new people are being added “to help pick, pack and ship customer orders.”

Cheeseman said the positions are being added now “to meet growing customer demand.”

Interested candidates can apply at www.workatamazonfulfillment.com.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/amazon-to-add-400-jobs-at-hazle-twp-facility-1.1850160

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Area Loses Title Of Highest Unemployment Rate In Pennsylvania

After 57 months, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Area is no longer dead last in the unemployment rating for Pennsylvania Metropolitan Areas.  After expanding the eligible metro areas from 14 to 18, Johnstown and East Stroudsburg have pushed Scranton/Wilkes-Barre out of last place.  If nothing else, psychologically it gives the beleaguered Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Area a lift.

Bethlehem In Line For 300 New Manufacturing Jobs At Newly Approved Facilities

Two new manufacturing facilities with a likely 300 total jobs will soon be opening in Bethlehem.

The Bethlehem Planning Commission on Thursday approved two new mixed-use manufacturing and office buildings on former Bethlehem Steel Corp. land within Lehigh Valley Industrial Park VII.

Fountain Hill-based Reeb Millwork will occupy one of the facilities, a 175,000-square-foot building on Gilchrist Drive, a new road off Commerce Center Boulevard. Reeb’s new Bethlehem facility will be in addition to its current Brighton Street building, but the company plans to consolidate all operations there in the future when an expansion is built, said Ed Detmer, Reeb’s vice president of corporate development.

Read more:

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2015/03/bethlehem_in_line_for_300_new.html

Study: Minorities In Pittsburgh Region Dominate Low-Wage Jobs

Ever since the British defeated the French and the Indians then changed the name of Fort Duquesne to Fort Pitt, the vast majority of the population of Pittsburgh has been white.

The workforce of the Pittsburgh region is now 89 percent white, with the remaining share of workers split between African Americans (7 percent), Hispanics and Asians (2 percent each), and 1 percent people who are listed as another racial minority, according to a study released Thursday by the Workforce Diversity Indicators Initiative that was the subject of a forum on diversity at the University of Pittsburgh on Thursday.

The employment sectors with the most diversity also were the lowest-paying sectors, such as administrative and support services with 20 percent share of minorities. That sector includes office work jobs and marketing but also security services, cleaning and maintenance and waste disposal. Minority workers in those jobs make $2,761 a month, which, according to the report, was one of the lowest of all sectors.

Even lower pay was found in the sector with the second highest concentration of minority workers — accommodation and food services — which had 16 percent representation by minority workers on the payrolls earning $1,442 a month.

Read more:

http://www.post-gazette.com/business/career-workplace/2015/03/06/Pittsburgh-region-minorities-dominate-low-wage-jobs-study-finds/stories/201503060177

Study Ranks York Area High As Location For Distribution Centers

A new report gives the York area high marks as a place for locating a distribution center.

Access to a rail line and the Port of Baltimore and comparatively low labor costs make the area one of the best places in the U.S. for siting a distribution center, according to a report from The Boyd Company, a Princeton, N.J.-based firm that advises companies on where they should locate.

The study comes after Target Corp. selected West Manchester Township earlier this month as the site for a massive facility to fill orders for its online customers. And auto parts maker Federal-Mogul is locating a distribution center in a new 708,000 square-foot building Chicago development firm First Industrial Realty Trust built in Manchester Township near Exit 24 on Interstate 83..

York does well when it comes to attracting such facilities “and we see that trend continuing,” John Boyd Jr., principal at The Boyd Company, said in a telephone interview.

Read more:

http://www.ydr.com/business/ci_27559916/study-ranks-york-area-high-location-distribution-centers

Report: NEPA Region Lags In Advanced-Skilled Jobs

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton area ranks near the bottom of the list of jobs leading the recovery that promise to revitalize the nation’s economy, according to a report from the Brookings Institution.

The Report, “America’s Advanced Industries: What they are, where they are, and why they matter” looked at those jobs in the nation’s 100 largest metros and ranked Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metro area 92nd.

These important jobs are leaving the area, the report noted, with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s employment in advanced industries falling about 2 percent every year.

Many terms have been used to describe the important sector: high-tech, STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) and now “advanced industries.” What makes understanding the sector more complex is that the field cuts across 50 industries from certain types of manufacturing and energy to computer software design and health care. A STEM job could be found just about anywhere, such as a computer programmer for a trucking company.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/report-nepa-region-lags-in-advanced-skilled-jobs-1.1826843

Tom Wolf’s Agenda: Raise The Minimum Wage To $10.10 An Hour

Tom Wolf, who was elected governor in November, wants to raise the minimum wage in Pennsylvania. Here are five things to know about the issue.

1. Pennsylvania’s minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.

That’s the same rate as the federal minimum wage.

Nationwide, 29 states have a minimum wage above the federal level, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

2. Wolf says raising the minimum wage would create jobs.

Wolf’s “Fresh Start” policy plan, released in February 2014, says raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour and indexing it to inflation would raise wages for 20 percent of Pennsylvanians and lead to the creation of 5,000 jobs by 2016.

The plan cites the Economic Policy Institute, which describes itself as dedicated to including “the needs of low- and middle-income workers in economic policy discussions,” as its source for those figures.

Read more: http://www.ydr.com/politics/ci_27320709/tom-wolfs-agenda-raise-minimum-wage-10-10

Free Online Resource Helps Aspiring Entrepreneurs Gain Crucial Business Skills

Blue Bell/Pottstown, Pa.— Aspiring entrepreneurs can conveniently learn the nuts and bolts of starting a business thanks to a new, online program developed by Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) for the Pennsylvania Business and Entrepreneurial Initiatives Collaborative. The program can be accessed online at BEresource.com.

“Starting Your Own Business” is a free, self-paced program through which learners explore five modules on topics such as business basics, financial and legal considerations, and marketing, as well as an in-depth case study. The final module of the program guides learners through the process of developing a customized business plan.

“In today’s market, entrepreneurial spirit is more than being a business owner. Employers increasingly expect employees to think entrepreneurially when developing ideas and solving problems,” shared Philip Needles, dean of Business and Entrepreneurial Initiatives at MCCC.

Learners who successfully finish the program and business plan will earn a proof of completion certificate and may be eligible to earn three credits at MCCC through Prior Learning Assessment (PLA). Other colleges and universities may also evaluate the completed course and business plan for possible PLA credit toward one of their respective programs.

PLA is the process used by many institutions to determine if an individual’s prior educational, workforce and life experiences can be translated to college credits. Assessments can include evaluation of military or corporate training, review of portfolios, customized tests, and evaluation of completed non-credit courses, among others.

The “Starting Your Own Business” project is funded by a U.S. Department of Labor Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant, and is part of a joint initiative of Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges to train and place underemployed and unemployed residents of the Commonwealth in high demand jobs.

The program is open source and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To learn more about the project and its designers, visit BEresouce.com or contact Denise Collins at 215-619-7313 or dcollins@mc3.edu.

PhillyDeals: Expansion Planned At King Of Prussia Plaza And Court

King of Prussia Mall

King of Prussia Mall (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Simon Property Group, the Indianapolis-based retail giant that owns 200-plus shopping malls nationwide, is sacrificing more than 400 parking spaces at its King of Prussia Plaza and Court to make room for at least 50 new stores and restaurants that it hopes will draw more wealthy shoppers to the region’s biggest retail complex.

At extra-large shopping centers such as King of Prussia, at least, “the mall business is good, contrary to some of the naysayers,” David Contis, president of Simon Malls and a corporate senior vice president, told me Monday.

His company bought out other investors to take control of the King of Prussia mall in 2011, in deals that valued the complex at over $1 billion.

Contis said he expected to attract luxury stores from outside the region and “the best of the Philadelphia eateries” to the new space, rather than shifting current tenants there.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20141118_PhillyDeals__Expansion_planned_at_King_Of_Prussia_Plaza_and_Court.html#4mWT6geTQWCWiwR1.99

Public Meetings Set To Air SEPTA Rail Extension Of Norristown High-Speed Line To Upper Merion

Location of Upper Merion Township in Montgomer...

Location of Upper Merion Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

UPPER MERION TOWNSHIP, PA – Residents in both Upper Merion and Norristown will be presented this week with four alternative routes to extend the Norristown high-speed rail line into Upper Merion in a proposed, $500 million, SEPTA rail project.

Both meetings will run from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday. The Upper Merion meeting on Monday will be held at the Radisson Hotel at Valley Forge, 1160 First Ave. and the Norristown meeting on Wednesday will be held at Norristown municipal hall, 235 E. Airy St.

Byron Comati, director of strategic planning and analysis for SEPTA, will present the four alternative routes winnowed down from 16 route variations. He will be joined by project manager and engineer Elizabeth Smith, an AECOM consulting engineer and Burt Cossaboon, a vice president of McCormick Taylor.

Read more:  http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20141114/public-meetings-set-to-air-septa-rail-extension-of-norristown-high-speed-line-to-upper-merion

Charleroi Envisions Riverfront Destination As Focal Point Of Business Redevelopment Plan

Map of Washington County higlighting Charleroi.

Map of Washington County higlighting Charleroi. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Imagine that, another town with a vision and a plan…with the rash of shootings going on in Pottstown again….a vision and a plan would be in order.  Just sayin’…

Donn Henderson sees the Charleroi riverfront development he wants 25 miles away in Pittsburgh.

“It’s not rocket science. There are plenty of examples,” said Henderson, manager of the borough, which will announce a redevelopment plan for the central business district Thursday. “Just look at the North Side. That’s a great model. The South Side, too.”

Re-creating Pittsburgh’s successes deep in Washington County‘s Mon Valley will not be easy. But continuing to watch the once-thriving industrial and retail community lose population amid growing drug and crime problems certainly will accomplish nothing, Henderson said.

“We cannot continue that trend and survive,” he said.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/washington/7133358-74/charleroi-henderson-buildings#ixzz3IxX1Lmiv
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Pittsburgh Study Shows City’s Vibrancy Has Returned

DSC01844Editor’s note:  We found this to be true during our visit there this summer. Pittsburgh has drastically changed over the last 10 years and the improvement is palpable.

Pittsburgh has transformed from an economically stagnant, transient city to “somewhere people want to come to and stay for a long time,” according to Doug Heuck, director of Pittsburgh Today.

A new report from the statistics-based project reflects this trend in increased home ownership, showing more residents are making the city their home.

The report shows the Pittsburgh region has the highest percentage of owner-occupied housing compared to 14 other metropolitan areas with comparable size and demographics, according to U.S. Census figures.

Factors like employment opportunities, education and housing have turned the city into “somewhere people want to come to and stay for a long time,” Mr. Heuck said.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2014/10/18/Study-shows-Pittsburgh-s-vibrancy-has-returned/stories/201410180017

Columbus Provides Blueprint For How To Develop Mellon Arena Site

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  We love it when folks use existing successful business models for a blueprint. Why reinvent the wheel when a tweak will due :)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — About $1 billion in development around an arena primarily for hockey transformed a dreary section of downtown Columbus that used to be an industrial area and home to a run-down prison.

“People didn’t come downtown very often, and they certainly didn’t live here. Things are different now. This is a place to be,” said Sherri Lyle, 44, of suburban Powell, who works in Columbus’ 14-year-old Arena District.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are paying attention. The team is preparing to develop a 28-acre site where the Civic Arena stood, across Centre Avenue from the $321 million Consol Energy Center that opened in 2010.

“We’ve sat down and talked with them several times about what they have done relative to development,” said Penguins Chief Operating Officer Travis Williams, noting the team studied similar projects in Cincinnati, Dallas, Philadelphia, San Jose, Washington and Pittsburgh’s North Shore.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/6881016-74/arena-district-area#ixzz3FOBkt9TK
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Experts Worry Stagnant Wages Are Delaying Economic Recovery

Editor’s note:  Came across this article right after I posted about grocery store price increases. They certainly speak to each other.

Jim Talerico got a $900 raise this year, but he isn’t happy about it.

“It’s a terrible wage,” said Talerico, a part-time faculty member in Robert Morris University’s English department. “Now I’m making a whopping $14,400.”

It was the first pay raise in 10 years for the 54-year-old Ingomar resident. Even with the $13,500 he earns from his other part-time teaching job at Community College of Allegheny County, he said a barista job at Starbucks looks tempting. At least it would come with benefits.

Working Americans have had to make difficult choices — from canceling doctor’s appointments to cutting their grocery budgets — as their paychecks barely keep up with the cost of living.

Consumer spending drives 70 percent of economic activity, and wage stagnation has been a stubborn problem that might be holding back the recovery as other measures such as unemployment improve.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/6812082-74/percent-pay-employers#ixzz3FO9O6Fhr
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York PA Metro Area At Bottom Of Forbes Job Growth List

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Florida economy was hammered during the financial crisis as tourism slowed, real estate prices plummeted and jobs disappeared, but the state has crawled back and continues to see heavy net migration into nearly every Sunshine State metro. People are chasing jobs with three Florida metros ranked among the 10 places expected to have the fastest job growth over the next three years and seven among the top 25. Naples leads the way with a projected average annual rate of 4.1%. Unemployment peaked in Naples in January 2010 at 12.2%, but was just 5.4% last month and is expected to stay low. Joining Naples among the top spots for job growth are fellow southern Florida locales Cape Coral and Port St. Lucie.

Read more: http://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2014/07/23/graphic-best-and-worst-cities-for-jobs-2014/

Online Retailer Zulily To Open Hub In Bethlehem That Employs 1,200

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Online retailer zulily plans to establish a distribution center in Bethlehem that will create 1,200 full-time jobs over the next three years, Gov. Tom Corbett announced today.

The hub is targeted for 10 Emery St., an 800,000-square-foot warehouse owned by Liberty Property Trust in Lehigh Valley Industrial Park VII — former Bethlehem Steel Corp. land off Route 412.

Corbett said in a news release that the building will serve as zulily’s Northeast fulfillment center and the company is making a multimillion-dollar investment there.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2014/09/online_retailer_zulily_to_open.html

Allentown Residents Benefiting From Hockey Arena Area Job Growth

English: City of Allentown from east side

English: City of Allentown from east side (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Oliver Velasquez arrived for a job fair earlier this summer at the new Allentown hockey arena, he was shocked by the number of attendees.

“I didn’t expect to see that many people; there must have been thousands,” the 26-year-old Allentown resident said. “The line actually wrapped around the block a couple of times.”

Velasquez waited in that line, and it paid off for him. He is now the PPL Center’s new suites and catering manager, providing banquets for catered events and overseeing food in the arena’s private suites.

He is one of more than 300 city residents to find employment as part of an effort by community activists and city officials to ensure people living in Allentown get a fair shot at the jobs being created by downtown redevelopment.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/allentown/index.ssf/2014/09/allentown_residents_benefittin.html

American Eagle Opens New Distribution Center In Humboldt

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Customers who placed an online order with American Eagle Outfitters typically had to wait between 7 and 10 days for their merchandise to arrive.

With the opening of the company’s newest distribution center in Hazle Township, they can now expect those packages within 2 to 5 days, said Michael Rempell, American Eagle Outfitters’ chief operating officer and executive vice president.

“It’s going to enable our company to effectively compete in the global economy,” Rempell said of the Humboldt Industrial Park facility, where a grand opening celebration was held Thursday.

The event brought company representatives, elected officials, community leaders and families of the 100 employees who have been hired to date at the Hazle Township facility together.

Read more: http://standardspeaker.com/news/american-eagle-opens-new-center-in-humboldt-1.1739948

LEHIGH VALLEY IS HOME TO 1,405 ARTS BUSINESSES THAT EMPLOY 7,714 PEOPLE, ACCORDING TO A NEW ANALYSIS OF DUN & BRADSTREET DATA BY AMERICANS FOR THE ARTS

Arts Industry Comprises 3.8% of All Businesses and 2.3% Percent of the Employment in the Lehigh Valley region

Lehigh Valley, PA – A new research study published by Americans for the Arts uses statistical data to quantify the scope and economic importance of the arts in the Lehigh Valley region, or Carbon, Lehigh, and Northampton Counties. The Creative Industries are defined as arts businesses that range from nonprofit museums, symphonies, and theaters to for-profit film, architecture, and design companies. Arts businesses and the creative people they employ stimulate innovation, strengthen America’s competitiveness in the global marketplace, and play an important role in building and sustaining economic vibrancy.

The Creative Industries in the Lehigh Valley include 1,405 nonprofit and for-profit businesses, employing 7,714 employees—comprising 3.8% of all businesses and 2.3% of the people they employ, according to the Creative Industries: Business & Employment in the Arts in the Lehigh Valley report. The findings are based on an analysis of Dun & Bradstreet data, the most comprehensive and trusted source for business information in the United States. The study was conducted by Americans for the Arts—the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education—and includes analyses of 11,000 unique political and geographic regions in the U.S. The data are current as of January 2014.

The analysis demonstrates a larger-than-expected prevalence of arts business establishments, while the mapping analysis shows that these businesses are broadly distributed and thriving throughout the Lehigh Valley and not, as is sometimes believed, strictly in the downtown areas.

“The scope and numbers of the arts businesses represented in the Creative Industries Study reinforce the importance of the arts to our local economy and quality of life.” says Randall Forte, Executive Director of the Lehigh Valley Arts Council. “The arts are about jobs, jobs, and more jobs and deserve a seat at the economic development table.”

Arts Industry Resilient

Nationwide, the Creative Industries reports reveal that arts businesses are formidable: 750,453 businesses involved in the creation or distribution of the arts employ 3.1 million people. This represents 4.2% of all U.S. businesses and 2.1% of all U.S. employees, respectively. One of the remarkable national findings from the research, which dates back to 2004, is that arts businesses and employment have maintained this share of businesses and employment during the nation’s up and down economic cycles—demonstrating that the Creative Industries are as resilient and durable as other sectors of the economy.

“The Creative Industries reports are powerful tools for understanding what a major force arts and culture businesses are for the economy—not only nationally, but also locally, in every community across our country,” says Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “These reports should be in every legislator’s office and every city hall, reminding community leaders that the arts are key drivers of the local economy, new employers, jobs, and improvement of the quality of life through their work. The Creative Industries say one thing loud and clear: the arts mean business!”

ABOUT CREATIVE INDUSTRIES REPORTS

The Creative Industries reports are created by Americans for the Arts using Dun & Bradstreet business data. Downloadable reports for the nation’s 435 federal legislative districts, all 50 states and the District of Columbia, 3,144 counties, and 7,400 state legislative districts, along with national comparative reports, can be freely downloaded at http://www.AmericansForTheArts.org/CreativeIndustries.

About the Lehigh Valley Arts Council

The Lehigh Valley Arts Council is a nonprofit 501(c)3, membership-supported organization that serves as a regional advocate and ambassador for the Lehigh Valley arts community. Its mission is to promote the arts; to encourage and support artists and their development; to assist arts organizations; and to facilitate communication and cooperation among artists, arts organizations and the community. Through collaborative partnerships, it continues to provide access to the local arts community through education, research, professional development seminars and cooperative marketing initiatives.