Economy






Lancaster County’s economy has been performing comparatively well over the past two decades. From 2001 to 2019, total jobs in Lancaster County increased 21%, slightly below the U.S. rate (23%), but above Pennsylvania’s overall rate (14%). The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly had a dramatic impact on the national, state and local economies, but the impact isn’t yet measured by available data. Health Care and Social Assistance, one of Lancaster’s largest employment sectors, may not be too negatively affected by the pandemic, while other sectors, such as Professional and Business Services, will likely show more of an impact.

Among the county’s larger sectors, jobs were up 25% in Trade, Transportation and Utilities, up 40% in Professional and Business Services, up 65% in Health Care and Social Assistance and down 24% in Manufacturing. Education, a smaller overall sector at 2% of county jobs, saw the largest increase in jobs during this period, at 104%. While Lancaster’s manufacturing sector jobs have been decreasing, this is also true for all comparison counties, for the state as a whole (down 28%) and for the U.S., overall (down 20%).

The total number of businesses in the county increased 27% from 2000 to 2019, compared to 15% in the state and 29% in the nation. This is substantially above neighboring counties. The largest percentage gains for large-scale business sectors in Lancaster County were in Health Care and Social Assistance (86%), Professional and Business Services (48%), and Leisure and Hospitality (39%).

Lancaster County agricultural sales have grown 39% since 2002. This is similar to Pennsylvania’s overall growth rates for sales, but below U.S. average growth of 42% since 2002. Likewise, it is at the lower end for sales growth in comparison to neighboring counties. However, this may be due to the fact that Lancaster already has a much larger agricultural presence than surrounding counties. With $1.5 billion in sales in 2017, it accounted for almost 20% of Pennsylvania’s total agricultural sales, more than double the amount of the nearest neighboring county by volume (Chester, at $740 million).

Business size is about average: in 2018, just under half (47%) of businesses in Lancaster County employed 1-4 people, 21% employed 5-9 people, 15% employed 10-19 people and the remaining 17% employed 20 people or more. Only 3% of employers, fewer than 400 businesses, had 100 or more employees. This represents very little change for Lancaster County since 2000, and is similar to the employer distribution throughout the state and nation, although Lancaster County seems to feature slightly more large employers and somewhat fewer very small employers than both.

Between 2000 and 2019, Lancaster County's labor force grew 13%, an increase larger than Pennsylvania, at 6%, but smaller than the nation at 15%.

Since 2000, the number of Lancaster County residents in occupations related to Management, Business, Science and Arts has increased by 38%, and those in Service jobs by 34%. Production, Transportation and Material Moving jobs have declined by 5% and Sales and Office jobs by 4%.

In 2017, 34% of Lancaster County residents commuted outside the county for work, up 11 percentage points since 2002, but a smaller proportion of residents than in neighboring counties.

The total average salary in Lancaster County has increased 5% between 2000 and 2019. This compares to growth of 14% in the state and 13% in the nation.

In 2019, the three highest-paid sectors in Lancaster County were Financial Activities, with an average salary of $72,400, Construction, at $61,400, and Professional and Business Services, at $62,700. Salaries were higher at both the state and national level in each of these sectors

In 2014-18, women in Lancaster County earned a median income of $22,400, or 55 cents for every dollar earned by men (a female-to-male earnings ratio of 0.55). This ratio was up 8% from 51 cents in 2000. The ratio was below the national average (0.66).

Local governments in Lancaster County spent $1,300 per resident in 2018, up 62% from 2000, but down from $1,800 in 2014. Local government spending across Pennsylvania was higher than in Lancaster, at $1,652 per resident in 2018, an increase of 17% from 2000. None of Lancaster’s neighboring counties had higher spending per capita than Lancaster in 2018.

Schools in Lancaster County spent $2,200 per resident in 2019, up about 33% from $1,700 in 2001. Lancaster’s spending per resident has been below the Pennsylvania average for each year since 2001. 





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