Industries in the office sector support a large number of employment in the United States. In 2014, there were an estimated 87.2 million white collar workers throughout the U.S. and this number is projected to grow by another 2.2 million workers by the year 2019. Employment trends indicate that companies are filling vacancies and adding new positions at a faster pace to keep up with rising workloads. But what does this mean for Central Pennsylvania?
In 2014, there were approximately 833,000 white collar workers in the Central Pennsylvania region. (For the purposes of this analysis, the Central Pennsylvania region included the following counties: Adams County, Berks County, Chester County, Cumberland County, Dauphin County, Franklin County, Lancaster County, Lebanon County, Perry County, and York County.) White collar workers in Central Pennsylvania accounted for approximately 36.0% of the total workforce in 2014. Statistics indicate that by 2019 there will be an additional 11,000 white collar workers.
In Central Pennsylvania, there are approximately 40,000 “office” businesses that employ just over 600,000 people. In breaking down the data, we learn that Lancaster County currently has the largest number of office businesses (8,637) followed by Berks County with 6,719. Cumberland County and Dauphin County have the largest percentage of total businesses that entail some type of office business. In Cumberland County, approximately 50.9% of the total businesses are office-based businesses, and in Dauphin County, 50.3% of the total businesses are office-based.
Dauphin County currently has the largest number of office employees. In fact, 62.2% of the total employment in the county is office-based employment which is predominately driven by government employees in Harrisburg. In Dauphin County, one office-based business supports approximately 24 employees on average, which is 23.6% higher than the average for all businesses and employees in the county.The graph above displays the total number of office-based businesses and office employees in each of the Central Pennsylvania counties.
The employment-to-population ratio is used to help evaluate the state of the economy and its ability to create jobs. It is measured by taking the total number of employment and dividing it by the total civilian population to determine how many people one job “supports”. Having a high ratio means that an important portion of the population is dependent upon a specific industry.
Of the Central Pennsylvania counties, Perry County ranks the highest for office employment-to-population ratio. One office job in the county supports 10.8 people. The employment-to-population ratio overall in Perry County is only one job to every 5 people. Adams County ranks second on the list for office employment-to-population ratio (1 to 6.5) followed by Franklin County (1 to 6.0).
In the six year time period from 2008 to 2014, changes in office-based employment were mostly positive overall for Central Pennsylvania. All of the Central Pennsylvania counties individually witnessed some growth over this time period. Growth in the office-based job market in the region as a whole experienced 5.3% growth from 2008 to 2014. Franklin County had the overall highest change in this time frame with office-based employment increasing by 15.7%. Adams County ranked second on the list with a change of 12.8%, followed by Dauphin County which increased by 11.8% overall.
The information industry took the hardest hit in employment from 2008 to 2014 in the Central Pennsylvania region. Total employment in this industry decreased by 20.3% over this time frame. The information industry includes newspaper publishing, software publishing, motion picture and video recording, sound recording industries, radio and TV broadcasting, cable and other telecommunications (including wireless and satellite), data processing, and others.
Both the health care and education industries in the Central Pennsylvania region saw the highest growth in employment from 2008 to 2014. These industries saw an overall increase of 13.8%. Lancaster County had the highest growth in medical employees (17.6%) as well as the highest growth in education employees (44.6%).