What's happening in the local economy is a reflection of what's happening across the country.
Most manufacturers aren't adding jobs, the health care industry continues to be in need of workers, the housing market is improving and the unemployment rate has steadily declined.
"Jobs numbers are definitely up over the year. The question is looking at what types of jobs are being added," said William Sholly, an analyst with the state Department of Labor & Industry.
During the first 10 months of the year, 1,400 jobs were added in York County, and most of them were in food service, retail, leisure and hospitality.
"It's been the trend during the last three years. We're basically a service-providing economy for the most part now. We're not seeing the manufacturing jobs like we did 30 years ago," Sholly said.
Local leaders agreed the manufacturing industry isn't producing the number of jobs it used to. Announcements for this year and next year reveal jobs are shed as quickly as they are added.
Earlier this month, two large manufacturers made announcements about changes to their local headcounts. Church & Dwight, a New Jersey-based manufacturer of household products and personal care items, said it will add 180 jobs in York County as it increases vitamin production. BAE Systems, which makes armored vehicles for the military at its plant in West Manchester Township, said it will lay off 135 workers.
"It speaks to the fragility of the economy. We have not been able to get consistent gains," said Mike Smeltzer, executive director of the Manufacturers' Association of South Central Pennsylvania.
But he and other leaders said they're not concerned.
"Manufacturing has always and will always have cycles. We haven't suffered what I'd consider a significant loss," Smeltzer said.
Good signs: Seeing the glass half full, he cited businesses deciding to stay, invest or grow in the county as a good sign.
Johnson Controls is planning a $148 million facility in Hopewell Township, Caterpillar said it will keep its plant in Springettsbury Township, and Church & Dwight is growing in Jackson Township.
All those plans received a little boost from Pennsylvania residents. The Johnson Controls investment is paired with tax increment financing, which is a form of public financing that will give the company a temporary tax break.
The state Department of Community and Economic Development offered a $6.4 million funding package to Caterpillar and a $1.5 million funding package to Church & Dwight before the companies committed to grow in York County.
Pennsylvania's spending millions of taxpayer money to encourage companies to grow in York is how deals are done, said Darrell Auterson, CEO of the York County Economic Alliance.
"The turndown in the economy created heavy competition with other states. All states have to step up and do what they have to and recruit," he said.
But in 2013, it was a matter of businesses staying in the county. Other than restaurants and retailers, few new businesses were lured here.
What will change that momentum is unclear.
"That's the trillion-dollar question," Smeltzer said.
It depends on a number of factors, he said, such as the right labor environment and a discussion on a right-to-work law.
Working in York County's favor for 2014 are a skilled labor pool, a high-quality water capacity and energy supply and the promise of better infrastructure, Smeltzer said, citing the recent passage of a $2.3 million state transportation bill.
"It shows Pennsylvania is willing to invest to grow and gives us another reason to promote the York area," he said.
Housing market: Other bright spots for the local economy are an improving housing market and jobs added at small and medium-sized companies, according to Bob Jensenius, vice president of the YCEA.
"One of the big strengths of York County is -- though they may not add 50 jobs at a time, small-to-medium sized companies will add one job here, one job there," he said. "That's where I expect to see more growth.
"During the last 10 years, the growth hasn't been with big manufacturers like Ford and GM, it's been at small and mid-size companies," Jensenius said.
The housing market is also encouraging, he said.
Compared to 2012, there was a 13 percent increase in York County home sales from Jan. 1 through Nov. 30, according to the Realtors Association of York & Adams Counties. During the first 11 months of the year, 3,984 homes were sold, compared to 3,531 sold throughout the same period last year.
"I expect that trend to continue," Jensenius said.
That unemployment has decreased 1 percent during the year is good news, even if most of the jobs are in the service industry, he said.
"When unemployment is that high, any job is a good job," Jensenius said. "But one service job doesn't replace jobs in other industries. Our goal is to grow in all sectors."
--Reach Candy Woodall at firstname.lastname@example.org.