Mixed Picture Emerges In Workforce PlanThere are glimmers of hope, but also some red flags, in a recent forecast of the region’s employment and economic picture. Rural Potter is one of many Pennsylvania counties that are losing population – especially their young people. Addressing these warning signs on a long-term basis is the purpose of the Northcentral Pa. Regional Planning and Development Commission’s “Workforce Investment Area Five-Year Plan.” It is a mechanism to steer a myriad of federal, state and local government resources in areas that help address the “brain drain” and downward economic spiral the region. Services for employers, job training and benefits for the unemployed are among the deliverables of the agencies affected by the Northcentral plan, so its contents are important. Here are some of the findings and forecasts:
- Manufacturing jobs in the region have been declining and are expected to fall even more, from 17,084 at the most recent count to 15,778 by 2014.
- Population loss region-wide was four percent from 2000 to 2010, which makes it harder to meet costs demands for infrastructure, education and government services. Potter County’s population declined by 3.4 percent between 2000 and 2010, from 18,080 to 17,457. Most or all of the six counties will continue to lose population over the next five years. At the same time, there will be greater growth in two population groups (ages 0-17 and 65-plus) who create the greatest demand on services.
- Median age will continue to rise. By 2030, it will be 43.9 in Potter County. Statewide, the median age now stands at 40.1.
- Industrial and social trends suggest considerable job growth in oil and gas extraction jobs. More modest job growth is expected in finance/insurance; waste management; professional, scientific and technical services; real estate; recreation/entertainment; private educational services; construction; health care; transportation/warehousing; and wholesale trade.
- Steady decreases are expected manufacturing; the information sector, which includes media, communications, data processing and publishing; company management jobs; government; retail trade; agriculture and utilities.