The Pocono Mountains Economic Development Corporation (PMEDC), lead by Executive Director Charles “Chuck” Leonard, is the driving force behind many new projects coming to Monroe County. The organization works, often behind the scenes, to help usher in new businesses to the county the increase both employment opportunities and increases the tax base, which benefits all of us.
PMEDC reports, a large part of our industry base remains recreation and tourism, but manufacturing, logistics, electronics, and pharmaceuticals also have a significant presence. The county’s largest public employer is Tobyhanna Army Depot with almost 4,000 employees and known for serving the military with their excellence in electronics. Sanofi Pasteur, a worldwide leader in vaccine production, is the county’s largest private employer of 2,400.
Healthcare is growing rapidly as well, with several recent expansions of Lehigh Valley Hospital – Pocono and St. Luke’s Hospital’s Monroe Campus in Bartonsville. Logistics and transportation are also large employers with a 1.25 million-square foot Walmart Distribution Center and a 1.4 million-square foot J&J Sales & Logistics center. Retail trade is also a strong economic driver in the area.
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Monroe County by the numbers
At a recent presentation, Leonard stressed that the county is growing its tax base with a number of new businesses and expansions that will create new jobs in expanding markets. But, first, it is good to know some of the current statistics about the county.
As of January 2022, the county’s population was 168,032. The current unemployment rate is at 6.1%, down from the previous unemployment rate in 2021 more than 9%. The workforce population is 85,955 and the median household income comes in at $63,934.
It is likely that the population of the county has grown a bit since the last “official” count, based upon newly arriving residents. Drilling down further into the demographics of the population of the county, approximately 61.8% of the available workforce are employed. The larger percentage of those working in the county are women. Most of those working in the county rage in age 25 to 54.
Just where are the jobs in Monroe County? The largest employment sector in the county is, not surprisingly, Accommodation and Food Services, or hospitality, employing roughly 15.4% of the workforce.
Following closely behind is the Retail sector with 15.1%, with the next highest industry being Healthcare and Social Assistance at 13.7%. Other industries such as Manufacturing, Educational Services, Transportation and Warehousing, Construction, and other services make up many of the 20 other industry divisions the PMEDC follows. The fastest growing sector for the county in the next year is expected to be Arts, Entertainment and Recreation, with the fastest growth in jobs in the Accommodation and Food Services, Health Care and Assistance followed by Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation.
As part of its support to the region and development of new businesses within the county and surrounding areas, the PMEDC offers information on property locations, small business resources including workforce development and has connections to other business support organizations. To find out more about what the PMEDC can do for you, visit their website at: www.pmedc.com.
The Poconos, long known as the “Honeymoon Capital” is diversifying its industry offerings. With that diversification comes job opportunities and the ability to have a greater tax base that will, in the long run, help ease the tax burden on homeowners. Leonard is enthusiastic about the new industries coming over the next few years and his peak into the future looks bright for so many of us.
— Debbie Kulick writes a weekly news column for the Pocono Record and Tri-County Independent. She serves on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic as an EMT.