2010-04-29 / Local & State

County’s Jobless Rate Shows Improvement

But ranking still at #66 for March
By Jean Snyder STAFF WRITER

Although unemployment rates in Fulton County for March show signs of improvement, the drop in unemployment was still not enough to move the county out of the next-to-last highest unemployment rate in the state. The employment picture was still far from rosy, but March’s jobless rates fell by nearly a percentage point from February’s. The county posted a 12.6 percent rate – down nine-tenths of a percentage point from February’s final rate of 13.5 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 16.6 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 dropped to 1,000 in March, while the number of employed rose to 6,900. Fulton County’s unemployment rate for March 2009 was 13.8 percent.

Pennsylvania’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 9.0 percent in March, up one tenth of a percentage point from the February rate.

Pennsylvania’s rate remained below the national rate of 9.7 percent and has been at or below the national rate for 84 of the past 87 months. The state rate was up 1.5 percentage points from March 2009, while the U.S. rate was up 1.1 percentage points from a year ago.

Pennsylvania’s seasonally adjusted civilian labor force, the number of people working or looking for work, rose by 6,000 residents in March to 6,458,000, the highest level in 14 months. Resident employment rose 2,000, while unemployment was up 5,000. Pennsylvania’s labor force was up 19,000 since March 2009.

Rankings for Fulton’s neighboring counties include Franklin at number 26 (up from number 25 in February), with an unemployment rate of 8.8 percent, down from February’s rate of 9.1 percent. Bedford’s ranking for March is number 59, with a 10.9 percent rate, with unemployment down from February’s rate of 11.8 and a number 63 ranking. It is tied with Huntingdon County for the number 59 ranking. Huntingdon County’s March rate was 10.9 percent, down from 11.1 percent in February. Its ranking went from number 58 to number 59 in March.

Centre and Montour counties again posted the lowest unemployment rates in the state for March, ranking numbers 1 and 2, respectively, with Centre’s rate at 6.4 percent and Montour at 6.6.

Pennsylvania’s seasonally adjusted total nonfarm jobs rose by 22,600 in March – the third increase in the past six months and largest single-month gain since April 2005. March’s biggest supersector gains were seen in education and health services, up 6,700; leisure and hospitality, up 5,200; and construction, up 4,900. Manufacturing added jobs in back-toback months for the first time in nearly three years.

Pennsylvania’s job count was down 84,300, or 1.5 percent, since March 2009. This was the first time the over-the-year job decline was below 100,000 since December 2008. The United States’ job count was down 2.3 million jobs from last year, a 1.8 percent drop.

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