2009-07-30 / Front Page

County Unemployment Stats Grim

Ranking goes to #66 for June
By Jean Snyder STAFF WRITER

Fulton County's jobless rate continues to reflect earlier massive layoffs at JLG and other industries as June's unemployment rate climbed significantly from 13.2 percent in May to 15 percent in June according to preliminary figures released by the Department of Labor and Industry this week. The rate, although still lower than March's 15.8 percent rate, was high enough to push the county's ranking from number 65 in May to number 66 (out of 67 counties) or the second highest jobless rate in the state. The county's rate remains lower than only Cameron County (#67), with a rate of 18.8 percent. Fulton County over the past six months has regularly changed positions with both Cameron and Elk counties, both also small, rural counties with populations less than 20,000.

The number of unemployed in Fulton County went from 1,000 in May to 1,200 in June, while the number of employed dropped from 6,800 to 6,600 in June. Final June rates will be released at the end of August.

In spite of the increase in employment, June'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 Pa. Dept. of Labor and Industry statistics. Fulton County's unemployment rates stayed at 20- 25 percent for most of 1982 and 1983.

By comparison, the June 2008 unemployment rate for Fulton was only 7.1 percent.

Fulton County's current unemployment rates are markedly higher than both the state and national rates. Pennsylvania's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged in June at 8.3 percent. The state rate remained below the United States' unemployment rate, which increased by one-tenth of a point to 9.5 percent in June. Pennsylvania's rate was up 3.0 percentage points over the year, while the U.S. rate was up 3.9 percentage points.

Rankings for Fulton's neighboring counties include Franklin at number 24 with an unemployment rate of 8.4 percent, up one-tenth of a percentage point from May. Franklin is tied for the number 24 slot with Lackawanna County. Bedford's ranking for June is number 62 with an 11.2 percent rate - slightly higher than May when it was number 59 with a 10.8 rate. Huntingdon County's rate went from 11.4 percent in May (and ranked 61) to 11.5 percent in June and ranked 64.

In June, Centre County once again posted the lowest unemployment rate in the state with 5.8 percent, followed by Chester County with a rate of 6.5 percent.

Pennsylvania's seasonally adjusted total nonfarm jobs count was down 3,400 jobs in June - the smallest decrease over the past 10 months - to 5,630,700 jobs. More than half of the 11 supersectors showed job growth in June, though the majority of the overall growth was limited to education & health services - up 7,400 - which can often be affected by shifting seasonal patterns in private education.

Since June 2008, Pennsylvania jobs were down 3 percent. Nationally, jobs were down 4.1 percent over the same period.

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