2009-09-03 / Local & State

County Jobless Rate Shows Small Recover y

Ranking remains at #66 for July
By Jean Snyder STAFF WRITER

Fulton County's jobless rate showed only a slight recovery in July as the unemployment rate dropped from 15.6 percent in June to 14.3 percent in July, according to preliminary figures released by the Department of Labor and Industry this week. However, in spite of the increase in employment, the rate is still high enough to keep the county's ranking at number 66 (out of 67 counties) and unchanged from June. The county's rate remains lower than only Cameron County (#67), with a rate of 17.7 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 1,200 in June to 1,100 in July, while the number of employed dropped from 6,600 in June to 6,500 in July.

In spite of the increase in employment, July's rates, like those for all of 2009 to date remain 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 July 2008 unemployment rate for Fulton was only 7.2 percent.

Fulton County's current unemployment rates are markedly higher than both the state and national rates. Pennsylvania's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was up by two-tenths of a percentage point in July at 8.5 percent. The state rate remained below the United States' unemployment rate, which decreased by onetenth of a point to 9.4 percent in July. Pennsylvania's rate was up 3.1 percentage points from July 2008, while the U.S. rate was up 3.6 percentage points over the year.

Rankings for Fulton's neighboring counties include Franklin at number 25 with an unemployment rate of 8.3 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from June. Franklin is tied for the number 25 slot with Juniata, Pike, Snyder and Westmoreland counties. Bedford's ranking for July is number 62 with an 11.1 percent rate - down slightly from June when although it was number 61, it had a 11.2 percent rate. Huntingdon County shares the number 62 spot in July with Bedford also with an 11.1 percent rate, down from 11.2 percent in June (and ranked 62).

Pennsylvania's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was up one-tenth of a percentage point to 8.5 percent in July. Pennsylvania's seasonally adjusted total nonfarm jobs count decreased by 4,800 jobs in July, marking the smallest decline since October 2008. At 5,620,700 jobs, the Pennsylvania total fell to its lowest level since February 2004. Goods-producing industries accounted for roughly four out of every five lost jobs in July.

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