Any company who looks to relocate or expand is going to be concerned with many factors: Markets, availability of labor, acquisition of suitable land, infrastructure and something that sounds almost intangible, a factor known as “Business Climate.” This definition deals with the attitude of local government towards business, the availability of labor, land and other resources as well as things like a good educational system that produces employees among other things. In Pike County, PA our “Business Climate” it is a very good story.
Local, County and State Government in Pike County, PA.
On the signpost outside the Milford Township Offices there is a sign that says “Business and Tourism Friendly.” The county government is administered by three “County Commissioners” and one is the Chairman of the Pike County Economic Development Authority whose mission it is to “encourage, promote and facilitate new economic activity within the county to create new jobs, commerce and business activities.” On the State level, members of the Pennsylvania Senate and House of Representatives jealously guard the state’s Income tax rate at a flat 3.07% to encourage new businesses especially those that are Sub-Chapter “S” and LLC’s which fall under the Personal Income Tax rate schedule. Despite occasional attempts to raise these rates Pennsylvania knows that (unlike their immediate neighbors in New York and New Jersey) keeping these tax rates low is an important part of Pennsylvania’s positive “Business Climate.”
Building-to-Ground Lot Coverage: At the recommendation of the business community, a local township increased its lot coverage from 45% to as high as 70% to help businesses activity and to keep the costs of land at a minimum. Because of this coverage change, an owner of 10 acres of land could go from a maximum of 196,020 sf for building and impervious material (at 45%) all the way up to as high as 304,920 sf of building and impervious blacktop (at 70%). Something like increasing lot coverage is a real tangible advantage of a positive Business Climate. This change is a real manifestation of a township’s commitment to helping business and to creating a positive “Business Climate.”
Labor Rates and Availability: In Pike County, labor is available and moderately priced for employers. Pike County does not seek minimum wage jobs but we support vigorously employers who bring jobs that provide competitive wages. To those employers, we can provide an excellent work force which is very productive and intelligent. It should be noted that some of our most skilled employees often travel outside of Pike County for employment and there is nothing they would like better than to work in Pike County and avoid the “commute.” In the 4th Quarter of 2016 average establishments in Pike County paid a weekly wage of $671 per week. (August 24, 2017) and the higher paying manufacturing jobs in Pike County were $777 per week in the III Quarter of 2016 as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (August 24, 2017). These wages from an employer‘s point of view are very reasonable. There are about 900 employers in Pike County in virtually all kinds of businesses ranging from CNC Manufacturing to companies that sell research data to hospitality establishments. Additionally, there are over 3,000 Non-Employer businesses that are also located within Pike County.
Education: We have wonderful secondary educational in Pike County. One of our schools has a top 5% ranking among all the secondary schools in the US. It has even been highlighted in the US News and World Report “Best Schools” report. Each of the three school systems within Pike County offers a unique learning experience ranging from Academics to Technology to a small school environment where every teacher knows every student. In 2018 we are expecting to graduate 1,029 students from our three school districts. 23.7% of our population has a Bachelor Degree or higher educational attainment (at age 25 or older). We have a higher rate of high school graduates and those with some college and associates degrees than the average percentage of those in the US.
The “TAX FOUNDATION’S BUSINESS CLIMATE RANKING:” Annually, the Tax Foundation compiles a ranking of the states regarding “Business Climate” in each state. Pennsylvania ranks as #24 (the lower the number, the better the state is for a positive climate). Our two neighbors on the borders of Pike County rank #50 (the worst!) for New Jersey and (nearly the worst!) New York at #49 out of the 50 states. See the map below. It should also be noted too that Pike County sits on the edge of the #1 Metropolitan Statistical Area (Market) in the US: New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA Metropolitan Statistical Area.