An economic mystery has appeared in may journalistic pieces in recent months and it is the listing of unemployed along with significant number of job openings.

How this occurred and whether this will keep up remains to be seen. Data seem to demonstrate that there may be 10 million job openings nationally and more than 8.4 million people unemployed. Pay seems to be rising, short staffing continues and customers are advised that they need patience being served. This is as true in the Pocono Northeast as it is throughout the United States. Along with this, the pandemic continues and has taken more lives and creates more hospitalizations. It has slowed down the number of jobs being created. How all of this ends is uncertain and may be with us for a significant amount of time, regionally and and nationally.

At the same time, some federal support programs are ending and this complicates how families respond to their financial needs. It is a trend that needs much more study and determination. This region has suffered through generations of difficulty. Yet, we seem to have overcome recessions of the past. Employment strategies and the overall economy of the region need to be strengthened and we have the talent and entities to do this.

We need to look at options, assets, the right mix of strategies and how to respond to changing economic conditions. Child care is critical to the future. Training may need to expand to prepare our workforce for technology and ways to meet opportunities ahead. Many regional higher educational institutions are critical sources of support for meeting economic development challenges and should be asked to work closely in years ahead. Much is already undertaken by these entities.

This region has the talent, history, ability and capacity to find its way out of the challenge. Since the pandemic continues, the economic conditions need to be evaluated and studied to focus on new ways to meet challenges and seek opportunities. Social Security benefits are essential as more people utilize that resource and we need to protect that source as much as possible. Recovery from negative elements such as the pandemic must be a high priority along with new thinking economically. Here are some thoughts regarding this condition.

• Bring the best minds together to update economic and employment factors and conditions.

• Tourism-related businesses and the tourist industry needs special treatment and attention in light of past travel issues and this is vital to the region and the Pocono Mountains.

• Certain industries are ahead of the curve such as delivery services, mortgage lenders and others and we need to add to this listi.

• Vaccinations rates need to be improved as quickly as possible if the region is to compete effectively. This means a need to update our economic base and meet regional needs.

• Flexibility in worker positions is critical as many people have changed their work and this needs attention.

• Examine the worker base and determine what factors need special attention and what steps can help families be financially capable.

• Look at domestic and international factors as they impact this region and determine how these conditions can best be secured regionally.

• The longer people are unemployed, the more difficult it is to find new employment, so this condition needs special attention.

Think about the economic changes affecting the region and how each sector can adjust that is different than the past. The region has made adjustments and can be responsive to new elements. Create new pathways to the economy of the region so that we can improve quality of life.