According to the 2010 Census, Reading, Pennsylvania's 2010 median household income was $26,698. Its per capita was $13,086. About 26 percent of the city's population lives beneath the poverty line. This is nearly twice as large as the U.S. poverty rate (13.2 percent).
Compared to national and state averages, Reading has a low cost of living. The city's housing index is 50 percent lower than the U.S. average and 40 percent lower than the state average. The overall cost of living in Reading is 87, which makes it 13 percent cheaper than the state and national averages. Despite Reading's high level of poverty, it is an extremely affordable place to live.
Reading, PA Job Opportunities
Although Reading's economy is less robust than most Pennsylvania cities, it has diverse employment opportunities for people with the right levels of education and training.
Reading Hospital is the area's largest employer. This hospital provides job opportunities for doctors, nurse practitioners, medical technicians, and other healthcare professionals. St. Joseph Medical Center also creates jobs for medical professionals. Combined, these medical centers create nearly 9,000 jobs.
East Penn Manufacturing Company is also one of the city's largest employers. The company has nearly 6,000 positions for line workers, mechanics, and factory managers.
Other prominent employers include Reading School District, Berks County, and Carpenter Technology Corporation.
Reading, PA Employment Trends
Reading has a relatively high unemployment rate that can make it difficult for residents to find job opportunities. In April 2015, the city had a 7.3 percent unemployment rate. The state's unemployment rate was 5.3 percent.
While 7.3 percent is high, it is considerably better than Reading's unemployment rate during the Great Recession. Reading's unemployment rate was six percent in April 2007. It reached 14 percent in January 2010. Since then, employment has slowly returned to its pre-recession rate.