This article was originally published in The Gettysburg Times, November 10, 2016
By Robin Fitzpatrick
How do you maintain health and wellness? Although there are many excellent habits we employ into our daily routines, there is one regular habit that serves as a true litmus test of our health—going to the doctor for a checkup.
Similarly, there are a myriad of strategies we employ throughout the year to support businesses, growth, and economic vitality in Adams County. We often talk about the three main pillars of industry in Adams County: manufacturing/industrial, agriculture, and tourism. Earlier this year, we identified a number of growth industries within the county: agribusiness, biotech, plastics, and technology.
For a checkup on Adams County’s economic health and wellbeing, we have compiled the latest data—a series of snapshots of the county’s employment and industry statistics.
First, Adams County’s unemployment rate, 4.2%, is lower that the state average, 5.7%. Of our total population of 102,295, there are currently 53,700 employed. In the first quarter of 2016, the top ten employers in the county were: Knouse Foods Cooperative Inc, Gettysburg College, Ski Liberty Operating Corp, The Gettysburg Hospital, Federal Government, The Brethren Home Community, Hain Pure Protein Corporation, Adams County Tim-Bar Corporation, and the Conewago Valley School District.
There are 2,121 companies located within Adam County—1,991 of them are privately owned; 30 are under federal ownership; 12 fall under state ownership; and 88 are classified as locally owned. Privately owned businesses employ 30,170 workers.
Adams County’s average annual salary is $38,340 compared to the state average of $46,550. And our median family income is $69,850, above the state average of $67,521.
Examining Adams County’s largest industries, in terms of number of people employed: Manufacturing is the top industry with a workforce of 6,777; health care and social assistance is next with 4,742; accommodation and food service is our third-largest industry with 4,080; retail trade is next with 3,620; and the fifth-largest industry sector is agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting with 1,867. Rounding out the top ten industries, in order, are transportation and warehousing, construction, public administration, other services, and administrative and waste services.
All of the above data can be found within the September 2016 county profile, mostly reporting data through August of 2016, with credit to the Pennsylvania Center for Workforce Information and Analysis. You can access the data at workstats.pa.gov.
Meantime, one of our community partners, Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC), Gettysburg, has their finger on the pulse of Adams County’s fastest growing industries, in order to tailor their curriculum to current and future workforce trends. Thanks to a market research study, HACC identifies the top ten fastest growing industries between 2015 and 2025 as: temporary help services; animal production and aquaculture; continuing care retirement communities; nursing care facilities; hotels and motels; offices of physicians; general medical and surgical hospitals; all other professional, scientific, and technical services; general warehousing and storage; and portfolio management. But we also want to mention the next three industries on the list because they fall into the agribusiness sector we identified as one of our growth industries—snack food manufacturing, supermarkets and other grocery stores, and poultry processing.
We are also happy to report Adams County Economic Development Corporation (ACEDC)’s latest benchmarks: ACEDC has facilitated 142 low-interest business loans since 1996—56 within the manufacturing industry, 45 within the agriculture sector, and 41 to businesses within the tourism/hospitality industry.
Since 2005, ACEDC has helped create 591 new jobs in Adams County while retaining 1,528. Additionally, our non-profit has facilitated $29.7 million+ in total public investment via low-interest loans and grants from DCED and $80 million+ in total private investment via local commercial financing.
It takes many community partners working together to achieve economic success and a positive economic climate. All of these statistics are indicators of good health!