2009-07-02 / Local & State

Pa. Jobless Rate Up Slightly

Ranking stays at #65
By Jean Snyder STAFF WRITER

Fulton County's jobless rate showed no signs of recovery in May as the unemployment rate climbed slightly from 13.0 percent in April to 13.4 in May, according to preliminary figures released by the Department of Labor and Industry this week. The rate, however, is still significantly lower than March's 15.8 percent rate. In spite of the small percentage of increase in joblessness, the county's ranking within the state remained unchanged from April at number 65, or the third highest in the state. The county's rate remains lower than Elk and Cameron counties (#s 66 and 67, respectively, with rates of 15.4 and 18.6 percent). Fulton County, over the past six months, has regularly changes positions with Cameron and Elk counties, both also small, rural counties with populations less than 20,000.

Although the numbers of those unemployed and of those in the workforce changed from April, the number of people actually employed remained unchanged (6,800) in May. Final May rates will be released at the end of July.

In spite of the small drop in employment, May's rates, like those for all of 2009 to date, mark the highest rate for Fulton County in 27 years when the April 1982 rate was 27.2 percent, according to state Labor and Industry statistics. Fulton County's unemployment rates stayed at 20-25 percent for most of 1982 and 1983.

The seasonally adjusted data for Fulton County for May, 2009 showed unemployment at 1,100, with a total labor force of 7,900 for the county. By comparison, the May 2008 unemployment rate for Fulton was only 7.4 percent.

Fulton County's current unemployment rates are markedly higher than both the state and national rates. Pennsylvania's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose four-tenths of a percentage point to 8.2 percent in May. The state rate remained below the national unemployment rate, which increased half a point to 9.4 percent in May. Pennsylvania's rate was up 3.1 percentage points from a year earlier, while the U.S. rate was up 3.9 percentage points since May 2008.

Rankings for Fulton's neighboring counties include Franklin at number 23 with an unemployment rate of 8.3 percent, up two-tenths of a percentage point from April. Franklin is tied for the number 23 slot with Northampton and York counties. Bedford's ranking for May is number 61 with a 10.9 percent rate - slightly better than April when it was number 64 with an 11.7 rate. Huntingdon County's rate went from 10.7 percent in April (and ranked 61) to 11.7 percent in May and ranked 64.

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