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Thank you to the following organizations for their continued support of our research and this Data Dashboard, which is part of Project STIR (Sparking Transformation using Information & Research).

Moses Taylor Foundation
The Robert H. Spitz Foundation
Willary Foundation
Scranton Area Community Foundation
William G. McGowan Charitable Fund

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Arts Culture and Heritage

A region’s competitiveness extends beyond its economy, housing, infrastructure, and the like. Quality-of-life factors are critical for attracting and retaining graduates and skilled workers. Although these aspects of a community are difficult to measure systematically, they include economic activity and investment in the arts and preservation of historic resources and landscapes.

In addition to making the region a more attractive place to live and work, strong cultural resources drive tourism. As of 2021, spending by visitors in the region exceeded $2 billion in the three counties, and the economic ripple effects of this activity spreads across many industry sectors and communities. Tourism was reduced in 2020 due to pandemic restrictions on travel, but there was a resurgence in 2021. All three counties saw tourism rebound at a faster rate than Pennsylvania as a whole.

Scenic landscapes and historic resources are also important aspects of tourism development as well as overall quality of life. The region is home to between four and five percent of Pennsylvania’s historic sites and markers, and in 2021, there was increase in available state and county funds for farmland preservation.

Arts Occupations

Two categories of workers were analyzed for this section of the report – art and design workers; and entertainers, performers, and sports workers. There has been little noticeable trend in the number of art and design workers employed in Lackawanna, Luzerne, and Wayne Counties. In 2022, however, the amount of art and design workers increased in all three counties. Lackawanna County’s share of these workers increased by nine percent and the number of art and design workers in both Luzerne and Wayne Counties increased by five percent.

In 2022, the number of entertainers, performers and sports and related workers in Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties increased by five percent and 9.5 percent, respectively, and declined by more than four percent in Wayne County. The amount employed in each county remains significantly below their pre-pandemic totals.

Wages in arts and design occupations are slightly higher at the entry level and median levels than they are in other occupations, though wages for experienced workers are lower than average. For entertainers, performers, and sports workers, entry-level wages are relatively low, but median wages and wages for experienced workers are slightly above average.

Art and Design Workers

Source: Jobs EQ (Chmura Economics)

Entertainers and Performers, Sports, and Related Workers

Source: Jobs EQ (Chmura Economics)

Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation Industry Sector

Businesses in arts, entertainment, and recreation collectively employ over 20,000 people in the three counties. Of all types of businesses in this sector, golf courses and country clubs have the highest employment total (903 employees), followed by recreational sports centers (551 employees). The next largest group includes independent artists, writers, and performers (349 individuals).


Source: Chmura Economics

NAICSIndustryEmployment5 Year Employment Change
711410Agents and Managers for Artists, Athletes, Entertainers, and Other Public Figures9-1
713990All Other Amusement and Recreation Industries33661
713110Amusement and Theme Parks0-13
713120Amusement Arcades28-16
713950Bowling Centers146-16
711120Dance Companies10-7
713940Fitness and Recreational Sports Centers551112
713910Golf Courses and Country Clubs90366
712120Historical Sites166
711510Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers34943
711130Musical Groups and Artists39-3
712190Nature Parks and Other Similar Institutions60-6
713290Other Gambling Industries32-21
711190Other Performing Arts Companies98
711219Other Spectator Sports7315
711310Promoters of Performing Arts, Sports, and Similar Events with Facilities223-141
711320Promoters of Performing Arts, Sports, and Similar Events without Facilities114
713920Skiing Facilities19420
711211Sports Teams and Clubs233-38
711110Theater Companies and Dinner Theaters19-14
712130Zoos and Botanical Gardens1919
Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation Totals20,16562

Arts Funding

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) distributed two grants to Northeast Pennsylvania in 2021 – both in Lackawanna County. The region also received two grants 2020. Statewide, NEA funding most recently stood at $5.5 million across nearly 100 grants.
The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts distributed 57 grants to Lackawanna, Luzerne, and Wayne Counties in 2020-2021. The number of grants funded in the region has dropped from 86 in 2019-2020 to 57 in 2020-2021, though the total amount allocated increased for Lackawanna County. The total grant appropriation statewide has remained unchanged at $9,590,000.

National Endowment for the Arts Funding Amounts in $


National Endowment for the Arts Funding Number of Funds


PA Council on the Arts Funding Amounts in $

Source: PA Council on the Arts

PA Council on the Arts Funding Number of Funds

Source: PA Council on the Arts


Prior to 2020, tourism visitor spending had followed a generally increasing trend in all three counties. Average year-over-year growth was two percent in Lackawanna County, three percent in Luzerne County, four percent in Wayne County, and three percent statewide.

The pandemic disrupted a large share of travel in 2020, causing a dip in visitor spending. In 2021, tourism largely rebounded in all three counties and statewide. In the most recent data, Lackawanna County had returned to 90.5 percent of pre-pandemic visitor spending and Luzerne County had returned to 88 percent. Wayne County’s increase surpassed prior years, with 2021’s total being the highest on record.

The recovery in tourism spending in the region has been faster than the state’s tourism recovery as a whole, where 2021 spending stood at 83 percent of pre-pandemic spending. Accordingly, the region’s share of the statewide tourism spending total grew from nearly five percent in years 2017 through 2019 to 5.5 percent in 2020 and 2021.

Tourism Visitor Spending (in millions of dollars)

Source: Pennsylvania Tourism Office

Historic Preservation

Several types of resources relate to historic preservation. Historical markers are present at locations to tell stories of notable people, places, events, and innovations. Above-ground resources include buildings, structures, or sites of historic significance. District resources can include larger areas of significance such as downtowns, neighborhoods, farms, industrial areas, and landscapes.

There are currently 122 historical markers in Lackawanna, Luzerne, and Wayne Counties. This total comprises almost five percent of all historical markers located in the Commonwealth. The three-county region also has a combined total of 7,420 above-ground resources – just over four percent of the statewide total of these historic buildings or sites. Finally, the three-county region has 203 district resources, which comprise about five percent of the state’s total of these larger areas of historical significance.

Historic Resources

Source: PA-SHARE

Farmland Preservation

State and county funds from the Bureau of Farmland Preservation help preserve agricultural lands. There is not a clear trend in the amount of state and county funds distributed to Lackawanna, Luzerne, and Wayne Counties by the Bureau of Farmland Preservation in recent years. However, the amount of funds distributed to all three counties in 2021 increased from their 2020 totals. Lackawanna County received a ten-percent increase in its state and county funds for farmland preservation. Luzerne County received a five-percent increase in its funding (though it has the highest total amount of all three counties). Lastly, Wayne County received an approximate 34 percent increase in its funding for farmland preservation.

Bureau of Farmland Preservation – State and County Funds

Source: PA Department of Agriculture