Greater Reading Races to the Top

Jon Scott's picture

Here is more proof that Greater Reading, PA is heading in the right direction. The Labor Market 150 Index, a new quarterly ranking from EMSI and CareerBuilder, assesses the labor market performance of the nation’s 150 largest metro areas. Greater Reading, PA ranks 4th out of 150 in Job Quality for 2014. The index combines 11 historical, current, and leading indicators and groups them in four categories: overall employment change, quality employment change, unique job postings, and unemployment rate. 

The Quality Employment Rating includes job growth rates among each metro’s key driver industries over the same time frames, as well as the share of new jobs created since 2010 with median hourly earnings at or above the metro’s living wage for two adults and one child, as determined by the MIT Living Wage Calculator. 

Additionally, another component of the quality employment rank is the share of new jobs from 2010 to 2014 in growing occupations that pay above the living wage. Reading, PA came in second at 66.2% with a strong concentration in manufacturing. 

Greater Reading’s workforce embodies critical business values—ambition, creativity, and innovation—that separate our community from the rest. Below, you will see the number of graduates in specific programs between the 2011-2015 school years from local Career and Technical Schools in the Greater Reading area. Ultimately, these individuals complement Greater Reading’s rich history and contribute to a more profitable future. 

Graduation Numbers for the 2011-2015 School Years Technical Program 

# of Students Graduated 



Robotics & Mechatronics 




Note: Graduation numbers received from Berks Career & Technology Center + Reading Muhlenberg Career & Technology Center 

What does this mean for economic development in Greater Reading, PA? This is good news in our industry. The data indicates that a large portion of our community’s manufacturing companies are paying family-sustaining wages – a keystone to growing the prosperity of our local economy. In addition, these 3rd party rankings give us the opportunity to tout positive news about our labor force and economy to our national and international contacts. Locally, this is something to be proud of for our community. 

While our community’s work is not done, we have started to collectively address the workforce challenges that our area is facing. Through programs such as Careers In 2 Years that are actively addressing the skills gap, we will continue to make progress in not only workforce development and unemployment rates, but we can expect to see improvement in the economic growth of the Greater Reading area as well. 

About the Labor Market 150 Index: 

The index aims to value balance as much as possible. For instance, Reading, Pennsylvania is ranked 129th in Employment Ranking, but 4th in Quality Employment Ranking, due in large part to the fact 66% of its new jobs pay at or above the area’s living wage. Combining that with its low unemployment rate, Reading is ranked 25th overall. 

Metro area and the notable high-growth jobs: 

1. Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas — petroleum pump/refinery operators 

2. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, Michigan — tech assemblers, mechanical engineers 

3. Peoria, Illinois — industrial engineers, insurance sales agents 

4. Reading, Pennsylvania — welders, metal & plastic machine workers 

5. Mobile, Alabama — metal refining furnace operators, production managers 

6. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington — marketing specialists, web developers 

7. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California — software developers, information systems managers 

8. Rockford, Illinois — team assemblers, machinists 

9. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — oil & gas occupations, insurance sales agents 

10. Albany-Schenectady-Troy — plumbers/pipefitters, industrial engineering technicians