The Human Capital
It is unusually rare for a business enterprise to thrive without the benefit of dedicated and well-trained workers. Montgomery County is particularly fortunate in the high quality of its workforce. According to government figures, 65 percent of Montgomery County residents work; 84 percent of County residents have completed high school. More than 32 percent of the population above the age of 25 has college degrees, which figures comfortably above both the national and regional norms.
But that shouldn't be surprising, since Montgomery County is home to excellent public and private schools. More than 20 colleges and universities are within quick commuting range of such renowned institutions as the University of Pennsylvania, Temple, Villanova, Drexel, Widener Universities, and Swarthmore, Ursinus, Beaver, and Bryn Mawr Colleges.
Any firm involved in today's new high-technology industries cannot survive without well-educated workers, but whatever the business specialty, the human capital exists here to support it.
The workforce is spilt out as follows:
- 50% is split between manufacturing and service industries
- 22.3 percent in wholesale and retail sales
- 9.6 percent in finance and insurance
- 3 percent in transportation and utilities
- almost 7 percent in construction.
Women comprise more than 45 percent of the workforce.
Labor costs here for non-agricultural workers are low in comparison with comparable states, and, below the national average. According to a recent survey conducted for the Pennsylvania Business Roundtable, the average hourly earnings of production workers on manufacturing payrolls are also below the national average.
Noteworthy here too, according to the survey, is the enhanced status of the Commonwealth's Unemployment Compensation Fund (UCF). After being nearly exhausted through the mid-1980s, the fund now maintains a positive cash balance; and the employer contribution rate as a percentage of total wages has fallen from 2.1 percent in 1985 to 1.2 percent. The UCF tax burden per employee has also dropped substantially.