Last updated: February 24. 2014 11:43PM - 7786 Views
By Andrew M. Seder aseder@civitasmedia.com

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JENKINS TWP. — Another week, another major jobs announcement for Luzerne County.

An 11 a.m. news conference has been scheduled for today at a flex building along Keystone Avenue inside the CenterPoint Commerce & Trade Park East.

Representatives from the Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce, the office of Gov. Tom Corbett and Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services will gather to introduce a new tenant for a vacant building.

Though really, the tenant isn’t new at all.

Sources told The Times Leader that C3i, a technology support services company that already has an existing facility in the same business park, will open a new space, bringing along new jobs with it.

Details were not released in advance about the number of jobs or the timetable for opening.

The news comes two weeks after Greiner Packaging Corp., a manufacturer of packaging in the food and non-food sectors, announced it establish its U.S. headquarters in the Mericle owned CenterPoint Commerce & Trade Park West in Pittston Township.

It will bring with it 128 full-time jobs over the next three years. The Austrian-based company said it plans to invest nearly $17 million in manufacturing, computer equipment, furniture and fixtures at the 113,871-square-foot building.

In the past 14 months, numerous companies have announced plans to open in Luzerne County or add jobs to existing work forces. Among them:

• In December, Maximus announced it will be bringing 565 jobs to CenterPoint East, in Jenkins Township.

• In May, American Eagle Outfitters announced plans to invest more than $160 million to construct a new direct-to-consumer distribution center in the Humboldt Industrial Park, Hazle Township. They say this will bring more than 350 jobs with the potential for hundreds more.

• In July, Tech Packaging says it will bring 95 jobs to the Humboldt Industrial Park in Hazle Township.

• In November, Webgistix announced it will open an eCommerce fulfillment center in Hanover Industrial Estates bringing 25 to 35 jobs.

• In January, 2013, Progressive Converting (Pro-Con), announced it would be adding up to 65 jobs to its existing workforce at the Humboldt Industrial Park in Hazle Township.

Any new jobs are positive news for this area, which in December maintained its grip on the state’s highest unemployment rate for the 45th consecutive month.

The jobless rate for the tri-county area including Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wyoming was at 8.7 percent, the lowest it’s been since July 2009, when it was 8.6 percent, but still one of only two metro regions in the state with a rate in excess of 7.3 percent.

Timothy Kearney, a business professor at Misericordia University, said taken separately, the announcements are nice. But “when there is a cluster of a few announcements together, that tends to reflect a positive, or improving, business climate. When they run together, it does raise the area’s profile, at least a bit. … I’d view it as a very good development.”

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