Lancaster Prospers Outlines Prosperity Benchmarks
Lancaster Prospers presented its Prosperity Benchmarks, a way to measure economic growth in the County in relation to metropolitan areas around the country. The metrics look at four indicators of economic growth - growth in per capita income, growth in employment, growth in gross metropolitan product, and growth in productivity - as well as eight grouping of economic and social factors that relate to them including skilled workforce and research and development, technology commercialization, racial inclusion and income equality, urban assimilation, legacy of place, business dynamics, individual entrepreneurship, locational amenities, and urban and metropolitan structure.
In many cases, Lancaster is a strong performer among its peers in Pennsylvania and around the country, basically older communities with a strong manufacturing base and established workforce. It routinely outperforms Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Reading, Scranton, and York as well as communities such as Canton, OH; Des Moines, IA; Flint, MI; Peoria, IL; and Wichita, KS which have a similar economic profile. However, Lancaster is often in the lower half of communities when compared to dramatically changing area such as San Jose, CA; Ann Arbor, MI; Durham, NC; Las Vegas, NV; Springfield, MA; Naples, FL; Denver, CO; and Seattle, WA.
Lancaster Prospers believes that knowing the relative position of a community allows planners to focus interventions toward improving the economic profile of the Lancaster County region. Scott Sheely, Executive Director of the Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board, chairs the Economic Research Committee and reinforced that idea during the presentation. "Lancaster has always been proud of its low unemployment rate but our very low growth in wages and comparatively low growth in industry output tell us that we must be investing in companies that make more value-added products and grow better jobs."
Randall Eberts, President of the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research in Kalamazoo, MI, shared the success of a project in northeastern Ohio on which the local initiative is based during several meetings with community leaders on Tuesday. Dr. Eberts commented that "we found a strong relationship between the factors for success that we have identified and economic growth. If we focus on those parts of our community structure, we should be able to move the needle in a positive way on the key component parts of our economy." Click here to see more information on the northeast Ohio report.
Echoing Eberts' comments, David Nikoloff, Director of the Economic Development Company of Lancaster County, said, "we need to be sure that our investments in the Lancaster County economy are focused and strategic. This process allows us to move ahead in an intentional way." Click here to see more information on Lancaster Prospers.
Click here, to see the full report for Lancaster County that was presented on Tuesday.