2010-04-08 / Local & State

County’s Jobless Rate Keeps Inching Up

Ranking still at #66 for February
By Jean Snyder STAFF WRITER

Although final unemployment rates in Fulton County for January were better than the preliminary rates, the employment picture remains bleak as February’s jobless rates rose by four-tenths of a percentage point from January’s. The county posted a 13.7 percent rate – up four-tenths of a percentage point from January’s final rate of 13.3 percent (preliminary figures were 14 percent), according to preliminary figures released by the Department of Labor and Industry this week. Despite the increase in unemployment, the county’s ranking remained unchanged at number 66 (out of 67 counties) and unchanged in ranking since June 2009.

The county’s rate remains lower than only Cameron County (#67) with a rate now of 16.9 percent. Fulton County over the past year has regularly changed positions with Cameron and Elk County, also a small, rural county with a population of less than 20,000.

The number of unemployed in Fulton County remained at 1,100 in February, while the number of employed remained at 6,800. Fulton County’s unemployment rate for February 2009 was 13.8 percent.

Pennsylvania’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was up 0.1 of a percentage point to 8.9 percent in February, the Department of Labor and Industry said Monday.

The state remained below the national rate of 9.7 percent in February and has been at or below the national rate for 83 of the past 86 months. The state rate was up 1.7 percentage points from February 2009, while the U.S. rate was up 1.5 percentage points from a year ago.

Pennsylvania’s seasonally adjusted civilian labor force – the number of people working or looking for work – rose by 29,000 in February to 6,451,000, the highest level in 13 months. Resident employment rose by 18,000, while unemployment went up by 12,000. Over the year, Pennsylvania’s labor force was nearly identical to its February 2009 level.

Rankings for Fulton’s neighboring counties include Franklin at number 26 (up from number 24 in January), with an unemployment rate of 9.1 percent, up from January’s rate of 8.6 percent. Bedford’s ranking for February is number 63 with an 11.9 percent rate, with unemployment up slightly from January’s rate of 11.8 and still a number 63 ranking. Huntingdon County’s February rate was 11.3 percent, up from 10.9 percent in January. Its ranking went from number 58 to number 59 in February.

Centre and Montour counties posted the lowest unemployment rates in the state for February, ranking numbers 1 and 2, respectively, with Centre’s rate at 6.4 percent and Montour at 6.5.

Pennsylvania’s seasonally adjusted total nonfarm job count fell by 16,000 in February. Eight of the 11 supersectors saw declines in February, with the biggest loss of 7,800 jobs in education and health services. Manufacturing added 1,600 jobs – the largest single month increase in nearly three years.

Pennsylvania jobs were down 141,100, or 2.5 percent, since February 2009. The United States’ job count was down by 3.3 million jobs, also a 2.5 percent over-theyear drop.

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