Thousands of jobs going to Lehigh Valley, analysts say

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Published: Apr 29 2013 08:00:00 PM EDT   Updated On: Apr 30 2013 07:08:10 PM EDT

More than 6,000 jobs will be added to the local economy over the next seven months, analysts said Tuesday.

If that happens, it will be the biggest addition to the workforce in Lehigh and Northampton counties since 2007.

A financial expert said the reason for the growth is that more companies feel we are finally coming out of the recession.

For years, the jobs outlook wasn't so bright in the Lehigh Valley.

“The great recession really chopped into our area in terms of employment," said Kamran Afshar, financial analyst and president of KAA Inc. "So, we will at least get beyond that point in a significant way.”

Afshar said his recent survey of Lehigh Valley business owners showed they are ready to hire.

“This is a change from what we have seen from the past,” added Afshar.

According to Afshar, the projection of new jobs in Northampton and Lehigh counties will be around 6,600 between now and the end of the year.

“Consumers, they are purchasing a lot more. More importantly, private and domestic investment are going up very rapidly, at a very healthy pace.”

The news also comes on the heels of the latest unemployment report in the Lehigh Valley. The Pennsylvania Department of Labor said the jobless rate is down from 8.6 percent in February to 8.35 percent in March.

Afshar said the unemployment rate will continue to go down because commercial banks are lending more money for business expansion, which he predicted will mean more jobs.

“So, all of these hand and hand shows that the economy is starting to come back from the bottom up," said Afshar. "Businesses are buying. Consumers are buying.”

Afshar warned the 6,600 new jobs is only a projection. The projection was the same in 2011, but the national debt crisis scared a lot of business owners and they hired fewer people.