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PNC report: Central Pennsylvania job growth 'anemic'

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Job growth has been slower in Central Pennsylvania than it has been elsewhere around the country, according to a report from PNC Financial Services Group.

The data report from the Pittsburgh-based company said the current labor market is in “decent shape” around the country with the potential for further improvement, while the report in Central Pennsylvania is more “mixed.”

The report states employment fell in the region less than 5 percent compared to 6 percent nationally. However, job growth remains “anemic,” and employment levels still are about 2 percent below where they were before the recession, writes Augustine Faucher, vice president and senior macroeconomist of PNC Financial Services Group.

The area has been hit hard by the federal government’s commitment to deficit reduction, which has hurt area defense contractors, Faucher wrote, and weak income growth has hurt consumer-related industries. Job growth in Central Pennsylvania is likely to remain below the national pace “over the next few years,” according to the report.

“Harrisburg has emerged from receivership, but government employment continues to fall, in part because of weakness at the state level,” Faucher wrote in the report. “The area has also gained little benefit from the national turnaround in the housing market.”

There are some positives, however. The local transportation and distribution industry, which local officials have touted because of the region’s proximity and ease of travel to metropolitan centers of New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., is growing along with national consumer spending.

Manufacturing should increase with better growth in the country, and consumer industries will pick up from the associated income gains. Lower business and living costs, the location near northeast population centers and Marcellus Shale development all should help the region, Faucher wrote.

“But over the longer run Central Pennsylvania will need to further develop its industrial base to take better advantage of expanding national and global economies,” he wrote.

The analysis is for Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Perry and York counties. PNC Financial Services Group is the holding company for PNC Bank, which has dozens of locations throughout the midstate and a regional headquarters in Hampden Township.

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