Economy






Lancaster County’s economy has been performing comparatively well over the past two decades. From 2001 to 2021, total jobs in Lancaster County increased 18%, below the U.S. rate (22%), but above Pennsylvania’s overall rate (10%). This represents a postive rebound from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among the county’s larger sectors, jobs were up 91% in Education, up 65% in Health Care and Social Assistance, up 35% in Professional and Business Services and down 27% in Information. Health, with 13% growth, saw the largest absolute number increase in jobs during this period, gaining over 43,200 new jobs in 2021.

The total number of businesses in the county increased 30% from 2000 to 2021, compared to 18% in the state and 38% 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 (85%), Professional and Business Services (54%), and Leisure and Hospitality (38%).

Lancaster County agricultural sales have grown 39% since 2002. This was similar to Pennsylvania’s overall growth rates for sales, but below U.S. average growth of 42% since 2002 and at the lower end of the range for neighboring counties. However, this may be due to the fact that Lancaster already had 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 was about average: in 2020, 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 11% employed 20 people or more. Only 3% of employers, a little over 400 businesses, had 100 or more employees. This represents very little change for Lancaster County since 2000, and was similar to the employer distribution throughout the state and nation.

Between 2000 and 2021, Lancaster County's labor force grew 13%, an increase larger than Pennsylvania, at 5%, and on par with the nation.

Since 2000, the number of Lancaster County residents in occupations related to Management, Business, Science and Arts increased by 53%, and those in Service jobs by 29%. Production, Transportation and Material Moving jobs have declined by 5% and Sales and Office jobs by 3%.

In 2019, 34% of Lancaster County residents commuted outside the county for work, up 10 percentage points since 2002, but a smaller proportion of residents than in neighboring counties.

The total average salary in Lancaster County ha increased 12% between 2000 and 2021. This compared to growth of 21% in the state and 22% in the nation.

In 2021, the three highest-paid sectors in Lancaster County were Financial Activities, with an average salary of $85,900, Professional and Business Services at $68,300 and Construction at $67,400. Salaries were higher at both the state and national level in each of these sectors

In 2017-21, women in Lancaster County earned a median income of $25,800, or 55 cents for every dollar earned by men (a female-to-male earnings ratio of 0.55). This ratio was up 9% from 51 cents in 2000. The ratio was below the national average (0.66).

Local governments in Lancaster County spent $1,145 per resident in 2020, up 34% from 2000, but down from $1,900 in 2014. Local government spending across Pennsylvania was higher than in Lancaster, at $1,800 per resident in 2020, an increase of 21% from 2000. Berks, Lancaster’s neighboring county had higher spending per capita than Lancaster in 2020.

Schools in Lancaster County spent $2,400 per resident in 2021, up about 29% from $1,800 in 2001. Lancaster’s spending per resident has been below the Pennsylvania average for each year since 2001. 





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