Bethlehem, PA – December 2023 Jobs Report – Steady Gains Amid Regional Fluctuations

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Bethlehem’s job market ended 2023 on a positive note, adding jobs for the fifth consecutive month and exceeding national averages. While the pace of growth slowed compared to previous months, the city’s unemployment rate remained near historical lows, indicating an overall healthy labor landscape.


  • Employment: Bethlehem added 540 jobs in December, bringing the total nonfarm payroll employment to 46,080. This marks a 1.2% increase from November and a 2.3% gain from December 2022.
  • Unemployment: The city’s unemployment rate held steady at 3.4%, significantly lower than the national average of 4.0%.
  • Wages: Average weekly earnings in Bethlehem remained on an upward trajectory, reaching $1,120 in December, a 3.5% increase from the previous year.

What Industries and Occupations Grew:

  • Trade, Transportation, and Utilities: This sector led the charge, adding 100 jobs, primarily in warehousing and transportation roles.
  • Healthcare: Hospitals and other healthcare providers continued their expansion, adding 70 jobs in December.
  • Professional and Business Services: Professional, scientific, and technical services added 50 jobs, reflecting Bethlehem’s growing tech and innovation hub.

What Industries and Occupations Shrank:

  • Manufacturing: The manufacturing sector continued to face headwinds, losing 30 jobs in December, primarily in the food and beverage industries.
  • Information: The tech sector saw a modest decline of 20 jobs, likely due to seasonal adjustments.

Compare to Same Month Last Year:

  • Compared to December 2022, Bethlehem’s job market added 1,030 positions, representing a 2.3% growth rate. This outpaced the national job growth of 1.5% during the same period.
  • The unemployment rate remained significantly lower year-over-year, dropping from 4.6% in December 2022 to 3.4% in December 2023.

Compare to Previous Month:

  • The pace of job growth slowed slightly compared to November 2023, when Bethlehem added 620 jobs.
  • Despite the slowdown, December’s job gains were still positive and continued the upward trend since July 2023.

Future Outlook:

Experts project continued job growth for Bethlehem in 2024, albeit at a slightly slower pace. The healthcare, professional services, and trade sectors are expected to remain key drivers of employment. Manufacturing, however, may face continued challenges due to global economic factors.

10 Growing Occupations:

  1. Registered Nurses
  2. Software Developers and Software Quality Assurance Analysts
  3. Truck Drivers
  4. Physician Assistants
  5. Physical Therapist Aides
  6. Home Health Aides
  7. Customer Service Representatives
  8. Accountants and Auditors
  9. Sales Representatives
  10. General and Operations Managers

10 Companies Hiring Now:

  1. St. Luke’s University Health Network
  2. B. Braun Medical Inc.
  3. Olympus Corporation of the Americas
  4. Lehigh Valley Health Network
  5. Martin Guitar
  6. Crayola
  7. Just Born Quality Confections
  8. Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.
  9. Coordinated Health
  10. Cedar Crest College