CRANBERRY TWP — The economic forecast for the Cranberry region remains bright with projected growth in population and employment. That was the message presented both by John Trant, Cranberry's chief strategy officer, and Dennis Yablonsky, chief executive officer of The Allegheny Conference. Both spoke Friday morning at THE CHAMBER of Commerce's economic forecast meeting held at Restaurant ECHO. Cranberry continues its high paced commercial and residential growth and has nearly doubled in the number of jobs in a little more than a decade. Population in Cranberry grew from 14,816 in 1990 to 28,098 in 2010. “We're projecting continued significant population growth,” said Trant. Cranberry's population is now projected to hit 43,400 in 2025. Cranberry's current median population age is 38, its median family income is $84,000 and its average home value is $231,250. Last year, the township experienced near record growth with more than $120 million in private construction investment, said Trant. Last year was second in construction only to 2008, the year that included the relocation of Westinghouse Electric's headquarters in Cranberry Woods off Route 228. Cranberry's job growth has increased 95 percent from 2003 to 2011, growing from 10,300 jobs in 2003 to 18,500 who currently work in the township. Some of the township's larger employers include MSA with 900 employees, UPMC Passavant with 800, Westinghouse with 3,800, Verizon with 1,000, Traco with 1,200 and Manheim Pittsburgh with 800 employees. “An interesting trend is that more people living here (Cranberry) are also working here,” said Trant, quoting township officials' estimates that from 15 percent to 20 percent of its residents work in the township. The Greater Pittsburgh Region, which includes Butler and nine other counties, also has experienced positive economic growth, Yablonsky said. “More people are at work that ever before in the Pittsburgh region,” said Yablonsky. And, there are 20,000 job openings that are currently available, many of which are from the natural gas industry. The current regional unemployment rate is 7.3 percent, less than both the state and national averages and way down from the 18.3 percent unemployment rate of 1983 following the collapse of the steel industry. The city of Pittsburgh experienced a modest growth in population in the last U.S. Census. Yablonsky said a positive sign of the residential growth is that residential housing demand in the city is high, with 95 percent of the downtown residential apartments full. He added there's a 2½ year waiting list. Another strength of the region, Yablonsky said, is the region's $6 billion in foundation assets that has been used to complete projects and has been leveraged to bring additional grant funding to area projects. The foundation's assets are second in the nation, behind Seattle.