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    The University of Scranton economics professors Aram Balagyozyan, Ph.D, and Satyajit Ghosh, Ph.D., have published an analysis of the Wyoming Valley of Northeast Pennsylvania’s job and housing market. The Brennan Barometer also looked at the cost of living impact inflation has had on household purchasing power in the region.

    Regional Economic Barometer Published

    The University of Scranton economics professors Aram Balagyozyan, Ph.D, and Satyajit Ghosh, Ph.D., have published an analysis of the Wyoming Valley of Northeast Pennsylvania’s job and housing market. The Brennan Barometer also looked at the cost of living impact inflation has had on household purchasing power in the region.
    November 9, 2022

    The University of Scranton economics professors have published an analysis of the Wyoming Valley of Northeast Pennsylvania’s job and housing market, as well as a look at the cost of living impact inflation has had on household purchasing power in the region.

    The analysis, called the Brennan Barometer and completed by Aram Balagyozyan, Ph.D, associate professor of economics, finance and international business, and Satyajit Ghosh, Ph.D., professor of economics, finance and international business, is the second of a series of reports published by the faculty members of the Kania School of Management that look specifically at the economy of NEPA’s Wyoming Valley. The professors plan to publish two comprehensive reports in January and July and two shorter updates: one in fall and one in spring.

    “The intent of the series of reports is to make a detailed analysis of economic data specific to NEPA available to area business professionals who might be able to use the information in their industries and organizations,” said Dr. Ghosh, who is frequently quoted about trends in the regional economy in area newspapers and publications.

    Data in the most recent Brennan Barometer, published Nov. 8, indicate the unemployment in Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wyoming counties remained relatively unchanged in the period of April to August, 2022, which is the most recent month for which official data is available. The unemployment rate for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazelton metropolitan statistical area stood at 5.7 percent in April and has fallen to 5.2 percent for July and August, following national and Pennsylvania trends.

    The professors noted that the total labor force and the total number of employed workers has continued to increase, while the total number of unemployed workers has declined. Charts published in the report show the total number employed rising from 257,000 in April, 2022, to 260,800 in August and those unemployed decreasing from 15,200 in April to 14,200 in August. They noted the employment growth was in the private sector with service-providing industries in the “Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities sub-sector” adding about 42 percent of the new private service-sector jobs. 

    “What is important to note is that in August 2022, the Health Services sub-sector that includes Health Care, Social Assistance, and Hospitals, reported a modest (200) gain of jobs. Normally, this should not be viewed as a significant event. However, historically, this sub-sector has been a very significant source of jobs in the region,” wrote the professors in the report.

    Their analysis of the housing market indicated the “tightening of the housing market in Scranton has occurred at faster pace than in the US. Between August 2021 and August 2022, Scranton has shed roughly 25 percent of its housing inventory, while in the United States, this number has declined by only 6.4 percent.” They also noted that “housing prices in the Scranton area outpaced growth of housing prices in Philadelphia and the U.S.” However, the average price of a house in the Scranton area “is much lower than the national average and the Philadelphia market. In August 2022, the value of a typical home in the Scranton area was $178,169, around half as much as it was in Philadelphia ($338,343) or the United States ($354,986).”

    In looking at the impact of inflation, the professors reviewed the Cost of Living (or purchasing power) of the average household in Scranton, as compared to the Cost of Living for Brooklyn and Manhattan.

    “For example, to have the same standard of living afforded by Scranton’s median household income of $41,687, a household in Queens, New York, would require $64,456, indicating a 55 percent higher cost of living. Similarly, a household income of $103,477 would be needed in Manhattan, New York, to maintain the same standard of living afforded by the median household income of $40,505 of Wilkes-Barre, indicating a 155 percent higher cost of living in Manhattan.”

    The professors also noted that “it may not be much of a consolation that the costs of living in the region may be much lower than other big cities in the area if income in the MSA fails to keep up with inflation.”

    The full report is available on the University’s website.

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