A recently released report from the Center for Workforce Information and Analysis presents long-term industry employment projections for the Johnstown metropolitan statistical area through 2022.

The information will provide job seekers, policymakers, training providers and a broad range of other users with answers to questions such as which industries will offer the best job opportunities in the future and how changes over time will impact future demand for workers.

Total employment is projected to increase slightly in excess of 4,000 jobs from 2012 through 2022. This translates into a gain of 7 percent.

Based on losses that occurred through the recessionary period, this positive forecast will certainly be welcome news moving forward.

Job growth will be dominated by opportunities in the service-producing sector that is projected to grow its workforce by 4,080 jobs, or 8 percent, through 2022. Strong growth is projected in occupations and industries related to health care and social assistance, and professional and technical services.

This trend comes as no surprise as both of these industries combined provide one-third of the total jobs within the service sector.

The projected growth among the goods-producing group is comparatively smaller. This sector, dominated locally by manufacturers, is forecast to increase by only 1.7 percent as the construction industry is envisioned to add the bulk of the new jobs.

Manufacturing employment has pursued a comparatively stable course throughout the post recessionary period.

Despite a comparatively flat-lined employment projection forecast for the future, there is reason to believe that local manufacturers will add jobs through the forecast period, dispelling a projected employment trend that reflects industry weakness.

Changing demographics will include future population trends, labor force composition and participation rates, industry mix, along with the ongoing challenges associated with job creation.

Population is the single most important factor in determining the size and composition of the labor force. It has been trending downward over the past several decades. Census projections predict this trend to continue.

Labor force participation (measured by those ages 16 and older working or seeking work) is a major indicator of the state of the labor market. The LFP locally has been on the decline and is currently placed at 55.2 percent, which is not a healthy sign. The comparable figure statewide is 63.4 percent, while nationally the rate stands at 62.7 percent.

For more detailed information on this 10-year outlook, visit the Center for Workforce Information and Analysis website at www.paworkstats.state.pa.us.

For 40 years, Bill Findley was employed by the state Department of Labor and Industry Center for Workforce Information and Analysis as a workforce information specialist, monitoring and reporting on labor market developments in this area and across the region.

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