2009-10-01 / Local & State

County’s Jobless Rate Still High

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

Unemployment in Fulton County continued to show little sign of recovery in August as the jobless rate continued to hover near 15 percent. August’s seasonally adjusted rate was 14.9 percent, down only one-tenth of a percent from the final July rate of 15 percent, according to preliminary figures released by the Department of Labor and Industry this week. Despite the very small 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 July. The county’s rate remains lower than only Cameron County (#67), with a rate now of 18 percent. Fulton County over the past eight 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 remained at 1,200 in August, while the number of employed dropped from 6,500 in July to 6,700 in August.

August’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.

By comparison, the August, 2008 unemployment rate for Fulton was only 8.7 percent.

Fulton County’s current unemployment rates are markedly higher than both the state and national rates. Pennsylvania’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a percentage point to 8.6 percent in August, but remained below the United States’ unemployment rate, which rose threetenths of a point to 9.7 percent in August. Pennsylvania’s rate was up 3.1 percentage points from August 2008, compared to an increase of 3.5 percentage points since August 2008 for the nation.

Rankings for Fulton’s neighboring counties include Franklin at number 26 with an unemployment rate of 8.8 percent, up five-tenths of a percentage point from July. Franklin is tied for the number 26 slot with Snyder County. Bedford’s ranking for August is number 62 with an 11.3 percent rate – identical to that of July. Huntingdon County’s August rate was 11.5 percent, up slightly from 11.2 in July. It was ranked number 63 just after Bedford County.

Centre and Chester counties posted the lowest unemployment rates in the state for August, ranking numbers 1 and 2, respectively, with Centre’s rate at 5.9 percent and Chester at 6.6.

Pennsylvania’s seasonally adjusted total nonfarm jobs count decreased by 8,800 jobs in August. Goods-producing and service providing industries dropped equally for the month. Jobs increased in the education and health services and other services sectors, 3,500 and 1,900, respectively.

Since August 2008, Pennsylvania jobs were down 191,500 (3.3 percent). Nationally, jobs were down 4.3 percent over the same period.

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