More People Moving Into Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Region Than Out

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PLAINS TOWNSHIP, PA — More people are moving into the region than leaving.

Migration into Luzerne and Lackawanna counties is on the rise and much of the immigration is coming from New York, New Jersey and elsewhere in Pennsylvania, according to the 2014 Indicators Report from the Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development at Wilkes University.

The report, unveiled Thursday morning to business and civic leaders who filled the convention center at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, analyzed 120 indicators in areas such as demographics, population and migration, jobs and the economy. It was the ninth year for the event, said Teri Ooms, executive director of the institute.

Ooms highlighted the 2010 Census, which shows a growing population for the first time since the 1950s. Some are from the low- to moderate-income demographic and some earn a middle- to upper-middle income, the report showed.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/more-people-moving-into-region-than-out-1.1690955

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Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Region’s Health Checkup Results Less Than Stellar

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Northeastern Pennsylvania should be concerned about its health.

Luzerne and Lackawanna counties possess a “hard-living” population that is predominantly overweight, smokes and drinks too much, has easy access to illegal drugs, has a rising increase in mental-health issues and is living in poverty, according to data released Tuesday at the Community Health Needs Assessment forum sponsored by Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center.

Teri Ooms, executive director at the Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development in Wilkes-Barre, gave a presentation to about 6o people representing various agencies and health care facilities that showed the area’s needs and offered recommendations to improve health care, increase services and retain patients who seek care outside the area.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1358272/Regions-health-checkup-results-less-than-stellar

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$300M Being Pumped Into I-81Between Wilkes-Barre And Scranton

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Christopher Santizo faces a challenge every time he drives to class at Luzerne County Community College in Nanticoke.

The 29-year-old graphic design and advertising student who commutes from Duryea, said construction on Interstate 81 routinely has made it difficult to get to class on time.

“I’ve been everywhere from stopped to 45 miles per hour,” he said.

He is among an estimated 70,000 drivers who traverse a half-dozen Pennsylvania Department of Transportation construction projects totaling more than $100 million between Wilkes-Barre and Scranton. Upon completion of those projects, PennDOT will begin widening the highway near Scranton to the tune of $174 million — ensuring years of additional construction zones.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1333853/Endless-I-81-construction-tests-drivers-patience

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Study Showing Area’s Shaky Economy No Surprise

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Frank Nemeth, of Wilkes-Barre, doesn’t need a study to tell him the region is in rough shape.

Nemeth works at the Main Street Trading Post, a pawn shop south of Public Square, and he said his job has exposed him to the harsh realities of the city’s economy.

“I don’t see any recovery happening,” he said.

Instead, Nemeth said he sees some of the same people everyday — sometimes two or three times — trying to sell their belongings to afford necessities like food and gas.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/news/1334175/Study-showing-areas-shaky-economy-no-surprise

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Forbes Magazine Ranks Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 8th Best Place To Raise A Family

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Diamond City Partnership Executive Director Larry Newman said Friday he wishes he could be more enthusiastic about the Forbes Magazine ranking that put the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton metropolitan area as the eighth best place in the U.S. to raise a family.

“It’s difficult to get enthusiastic about these types of rankings because they come out a lot,” Newman said. “And they’re becoming increasingly more frequent. But don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that we’re being recognized in a positive way.”

The Forbes list had this to say about the region:

“One of the lowest median family incomes ($42,000) among U.S. metro areas, but crime is low, commutes are short and housing is affordable (87 percent of area homes are affordable at the median income level).

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1337182/Region-gets-high-praise-from-Forbes

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Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Last In Beating Recession

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the race to climb out of recession, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metropolitan area is dead last among the 100 largest urban areas nationwide.

That is the finding in a recent “Metro Monitor” study by The Brookings Institution that tracked the economic performance of 100 metropolitan areas on four indicators: jobs, unemployment, output (gross product) and house prices. The analysis focused on the change of the indicators during three time periods: the recession, recovery and a combination of both.

During the recovery period, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre ranked 100, or last, trailing Little Rock, Ark., (99) and Greater Hartford, Conn. (98).

“In terms of recovery, it has been pretty slow” for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, said Siddharth Kulkarni, a research assistant in Brooking’s Metropolitan Policy Program.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/scranton-w-b-last-in-beating-recession-1.1667766

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Poll: Those In NEPA Among Most Miserable In U.S.

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Lancaster, PA ranked 21st on the list 🙂  The happiest of any Pennsylvania Metropolitan Area.  Hey now!

People in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metropolitan area are among the most miserable in the nation, according to a report that ranks the area 177th out of 189 it surveyed to gauge residents’ sense of well-being.

Their continuing economic downslide, bad memories, misperceptions and even a lack of sunlight may play a part in Northeast Pennsylvanians’ gloomy outlook, some local experts say in commenting on the State of American Well-Being, the report released last week by Gallup and Healthways.

The highest-ranked area was Provo-Orem, Utah, and the lowest-ranked was the Huntington, W.Va.-Ashland, Ky. area. More than 178,000 people across the country were interviewed last year, including a sample size of 1,092 from the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area.

The survey asked people to rate their life evaluation – a combination of current situation evaluation and the anticipated situation in five years – emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors and basic access to health care and other necessities.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/poll-those-in-nepa-among-most-miserable-in-u-s-1.1663838

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Census Figures Show Population Drops In NEPA Across The Board

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

About 2,000 fewer people lived in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metro in 2013 compared to the previous year, as deaths outpaced births and more people fled the area than flocked to it.

All seven counties in Northeastern Pennsylvania lost population between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2013, according to new annual estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau today. Unlike the once-a-decade census, the annual estimates are based on records such as birth and death certificates,tax forms and Medicare enrollment.

Gordon De Jong, Ph.D., a professor emeritus of sociology and demography at Penn State, said the aging population, low birth rate and lack of economic opportunity in Northeastern Pennsylvania continue to cost its residents.

“The fundamental underlying trend is continued, if not accelerated,” De Jong said.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/census-figures-show-population-drops-in-nepa-across-the-board-1.1657880

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Texting Citations In Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Area Drop

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Texting while driving citations for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metro area dropped 29 percent in one year, but the region still ranks 8th-worst in the state, according to data from compiled by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, the Philadelphia police and the U.S. Census Bureau.

There were 37 citations in Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wyoming counties from March 2013 through February – one citation fewer than the Lancaster metro area, though Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metro area has 36,806 more residents, There were 52 citations from March 2012 to Feb. 2013, making the metro area the 6th-worst in the state in 2013. The Philadelphia and Pittsburgh metro areas maintained the one and two spots respectively, though their populations are far greater.

No one reason can be attributed for the year’s decline in citations, area law enforcement officials said. An optimist might attribute part of it to increased awareness in the dangers of texting while driving, Lackawanna County Deputy District Attorney Robert Klein said. One reason may be a reduction of crashes caused by texting. Another reason could be as simple as fewer drivers getting caught.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/texting-citations-in-w-b-scranton-area-drop-1.1655025

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Local Unemployment Rate Lowest Since July 2009

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The tri-county area including Luzerne, Wyoming and Lackawanna ended 2013 just like it began, with the highest unemployment rate of the state’s 14 metropolitan statistical areas. December also marked the 45th month in a row the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton region held that distinction.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/business/1171547/Local-unemployment-rate-lowest-since-July-2009

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Hearing Call Of ‘All Aboard’? Experts Discuss Feasibility Of Passenger Rail Service

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority President Lawrence Malski said Monday studies show major industries are looking to get out of congested metropolitan areas and move to areas like NEPA.

Passenger rail service that links Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and Hazleton, he said, would be a major factor in attracting those companies to the area. U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Hazleton, suggested the idea on Friday to spur economic activity.

“It’s (passenger rail service) is a major requirement that they have,” Malski said. “When you connect cities like Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and Hazleton to a major city like New York, major industries will follow that rail line out here because they would have an efficient and reliable form of transportation for workers.”

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news//1152788/Hearing-call-of-All-aboard

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Foreclosure Activity Surges Across Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Region

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Regional foreclosures advanced at the state’s highest percentage among metropolitan areas in 2013.

Property repossessions, home auction notices and mortgage default activity in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metro area soared by 60 percent, compared to 2012, according RealtyTrac, a Los Angeles-area company that tracks national foreclosure trends.

Foreclosures climbed in the area during all four quarters of the year and the annual increase was largest proportionately among state metro areas, RealtyTrac data show. York’s 32 percent increase was the second-largest jump.

The region experienced eight straight quarters of foreclosure declines before activity accelerated in the first quarter of 2013.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/business/foreclosure-activity-surges-across-region-1.1619761

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Sallie Mae To Add 300 To Hanover Township Center

English: Map of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania h...

English: Map of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania highlighting Hanover Township (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HANOVER TWP. — Sallie Mae will add an additional close to 300 people to its workforce at its loan servicing center in the Hanover Industrial Estates over the next two years.

The announcement was made this afternoon by Sallie Mae CEO John (Jack) F. Remondi, who was joined at the Hanover Township center by Gov. Tom Corbett.

“Pennsylvania is open for business. We are actively working with companies like Sallie Mae to help them create family sustaining jobs throughout Pennsylvania, and I welcome Sallie Mae’s continued investment in our commonwealth and its greatest asset – our people,” Corbett said.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news/1035482/Sallie-Mae-to-add-300-to-Hanover-Township-center

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Metro Area Food Stamp Use Up 75 Percent In 5 Years

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Food stamp distribution in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metro area exploded by 75 percent between 2007 and 2012.

The number of households receiving federal assistance under the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program ballooned to 35,256 in 2012 from 20,195 in 2007, Census Bureau data reveal.

SNAP stamp benefits in 2012 went to 14 percent of the residences in Lackawanna County, 17 percent in Luzerne County and 20 percent in Wyoming County. More than 90,300 people in the metro area participate in the food-stamp program, according to federal data cited by U.S. Sen. Bob Casey’s office.

“Those numbers are staggering,” said Teri Ooms, director of the Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development, a regional research and analysis organization. “This is the eroding of the middle class.”

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/food-stamp-use-up-75-percent-in-5-years-1.1583475

CRIZ Program Could Bring Biz To Wilkes-Barre

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE — The state has a new economic development tool with the city’s name on it.

In truth, the City Revitalization and Improvement Zone program applies to seven other third-class cities and Delaware County, the applicant for the city of Chester. The program is included in a tax-reform package signed into law last July by Gov. Tom Corbett.

The program allows the eligible cities to use tax money generated in designated zones to pay down the debt taken on for job creation and economic-development projects.

Drew McLaughlin, Wilkes-Barre’s municipal affairs manager, said the city has been researching the CRIZ program for a while.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news/953436/CRIZ-program-could-bring-biz-to-Wilkes-Barre

Northeastern Pennsylvania’s Deficient Bridges Won’t Be Quick Fix

Counties constituting Northeastern Pennsylvania

Counties constituting Northeastern Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nearly one of every four bridges in Northeastern Pennsylvania is structurally deficient, a Times-Shamrock Newspapers analysis found.

And, because of decades of neglect, repairing those bridges “will take years to catch up,” a local transportation expert said – even if state lawmakers approve a transportation bill this fall.

“Once a bridge gets to be 50 to 60 years old, you can’t go in and just patch it,” Thomas Lawson, co-chairman of the Focus 81 Committee, said.

Interactive: Search for the most deficient bridges in NEPA

Instead, numerous bridges around the region, which has more deteriorating bridges than the state average, will require superstructure overhauls “at minimum,” he said.

Read more:  http://citizensvoice.com/news/region-s-deficient-bridges-won-t-be-quick-fix-1.1520394

Study: Poor Health Habits Prevalent In Northeast Pennsylvania

Counties constituting Northeastern Pennsylvania

Counties constituting Northeastern Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A project aimed at establishing a benchmark of regional residents’ health reinforced something already known — Northeastern Pennsylvania residents, generally speaking, are not very healthy.

The study, conducted by the Scranton-based Northeast Regional Cancer Institute, was done so the effects of the Marcellus Shale industry on the region’s health can be gauged in the future.

“We wanted to create a baseline on the health of the community to use as a benchmark against future studies to see what effects, if any, and to what extent the industry will have had on the region’s health,” said Bob Durkin, president of the Cancer Institute.

Dr. Samuel Lesko, principal investigator for the survey, said a variety of issues related to “fracking” and other processes used to produce natural gas have contributed to community concerns about potential adverse health outcomes.

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/405891/Study:-Poor-health-habits-prevalent-in-region

Unemployment Rate Up In NEPA; Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Only Metro Area In State Above 9 Percent

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An increase in job-seekers and a decrease in jobs drove August’s residential unemployment rate in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metro area up two-tenths of a percentage point to 9.4 percent.

Read more:

http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/unemployment-rate-up-in-region-only-metro-in-state-above-9-percent-1.1381418

General Dynamics To Lay Off One-Quarter Of Workers At Scranton Munitions Plant

General Dynamics will lay off about one-quarter of the workers at its Scranton munitions plant by the end of the year.

The defense conglomerate, which is based near Washington, D.C., reported it will reduce its workforce from 245 to 185 in three increments between October and December. The 60 layoffs will take place as work is completed on two contracts for production of 120mm mortar shell bodies, said Laurie Van Brocklin, a General Dynamics spokeswoman.

“We regret the impact that the action has on employees,” Ms. Van Brocklin said. “We are hopeful, with successful bids on mortar bodies contracts, that we will be able to rectify that.”

The layoffs will leave the 500,000-square-foot plant with fewer than half the employees it had when General Dynamics acquired it six years ago.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/general-dynamics-to-lay-off-one-quarter-of-workers-at-scranton-munitions-plant-1.1359821

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Jobless Rate Jumps To Nine-Month High

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Unemployment in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metropolitan area shot to a nine-month high in June, according to data released today by the state Department of Labor and Industry.

The rate hit 9.3 percent, up sixth-tenths of a percentage point from May. It was the region’s highest jobless rate since September, when it was 9.7 percent.

“It’s negative, there’s no question, but it’s not as bad as it sounds,” said Anthony Liuzzo, Ph.D., a business and economics professor at Wilkes University. “It takes the wind out of our sails a little bit when we see numbers like this.”

The region’s unemployment rate remained Pennsylvania’s highest for the 27th consecutive month.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/business/region-s-jobless-rate-jumps-to-nine-month-high-1.1352249