Wayne County is almost exactly midway along the Boston – Washington axis, at a point where access to all directions is easily obtained without having to fight traffic congestion that prevails inside metro areas. The transportation network serving Northeast metro markets facilitates distribution to a combined population of approximately 50 million people within one-half day.
Our proximity to metro areas, yet comparably lower cost of living and outstanding quality of life, make Wayne County one of the fastest growing counties in Pennsylvania. In fact, a look at growth during the last census period shows Wayne County and neighboring Pike and Monroe Counties together expanding at a rate over 12 times that of the State as a whole. This growth leads to an increasing labor supply with a substantial cost advantage to employers.
Approximate driving distances from central Wayne County to major cities:
Labor Supply and Wage Rate Advantages
A market analysis prepared for WEDCO by Reilly Associates and Shepstone Management Company revealed a rapidly growing labor pool with significant cost advantages. The labor supply was drawn from Wayne County and its three neighbors: Lackawanna, Pike, and Monroe. While there are significant differences between Lackawanna and the three Pocono counties in demographic growth patterns, culture and physical features, the four are linked through common economic development agencies, health systems, and highway networks. The following are key characteristics of the market:
The market is rapidly growing.
Altogether, the four counties represent a population of 446,006 persons in 2000, having added 63,290 persons over the decade. It experienced a net growth rate of 16.5% compared to Pennsylvania’s overall 3.4% gain. The New York and Northern New Jersey Metropolitan Area grew by 8.4%, indicating the Poconos represent the leading edge of that region’s expansion.
Population Growth in Labor Market
Market Analysis prepared by Reilly Associates and Sheptone Management Source: U.S. Census Bureau
The labor pool is also rapidly growing.
The labor supply of individuals 16+ years of age within the 4-county region expanded by 29,409, or 16.1% between 1990 and 2000, some twenty times the rate of expansion within the Commonwealth as a whole.
Civilian Labor Force
Wage rates provide major cost advantage.
Two of the four counties are already parts of existing metro areas (Lackawanna is in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre MSA and Pike is within the Newburgh PMSA), while Wayne County borders the Binghamton MSA on the north. The three metro areas surrounding Wayne County provide a good basis for evaluating wage rates within the region to wage rates of other Northeast metro markets. The latter includes 13 metro areas extending from New York City north to Duchess County, east to Nassau-Suffolk Counties, south to Atlantic City-Cape May, and west to Reading.
Annual wage rates across all occupations in 2001 were 17.2% lower within the metro areas surrounding Wayne County than in the other 13 Northeast metro areas. This was worth an average of $5,474 to a business prospect. Generally, business and financial operations occupation wages were 19% lower, office and administrative support wages were 16.1% lower, production occupation wages were 9.6% lower and transportation and moving wages were 2.0% lower than comparable occupational wages.
Cost of living advantages
ACCRA cost of living data is not available for any cities near Wayne County (excepting New York City). However, the Places Rated Almanac, Special Millennium Edition rates nearby Scranton/Wilkes-Barre with the Lehigh Valley and New York City (which is the highest cost of living in the U.S). It uses a scale of 1 to 354 and the following are the relevant ratings:
Scranton / Wilkes-Barre / Hazleton, PA = 170
Allentown / Bethlehem / Easton, PA = 235
New York City, NY = 354
Northeastern Pennsylvania Region is 90 minutes from New York City but has half the cost of living and a higher quality of life.