2014-03-27 / Local & State

Unemployment Rate Dips Below 7 Percent

County ranked 46 out of 67 in January
By Jean Snyder

STAFF WRITER

Preliminary unemployment data for January released last week showed the unemployment rate in the county dropping by almost one percentage point. The unemployment rate for January was 6.9 percent, down nine-tenths of a percent from 7.8 percent in December. It was the first time in 2013 and 2014 that the rate fell below 7 percent.

With state unemployment rates being reported for February, Pennsylvania’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined by two-tenths of a percentage point in February to 6.2 percent. The commonwealth’s rate was one-half of a percentage point below the U.S. rate, which in February was up one-tenth of a percentage point to 6.7 percent. Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate was its lowest since November 2008, when the rate was also 6.2 percent. The state rate was down 1.5 percentage points from its February 2013 rate of 7.7 percent. The national unemployment rate for January was 6.6 percent and 6.7 percent for February 2014.

With local unemployment rates dipping, the county’s ranking in the state went from number 52 (out of 67 counties) in December to number 46 in January. Fulton County shared the number 46 spot with Bedford and Lycoming counties.

Unemployment was at 500 in January; the labor force was at 7,600; and employment was at 7,000 in January.

Pennsylvania’s civilian labor force – the number of people working or looking for work – increased by 15,000 in February to 6,430,000. Resident employment was up 28,000 to 6,032,000, and the number of unemployed residents fell 15,000 to 397,000, its lowest level since October 2008. Pennsylvania’s labor force was down by 59,000 over the year due primarily to a decline in unemployment of 103,000.

Total nonfarm jobs rose by 8,700 in February to 5,766,000. Private sector jobs were up by 7,500, and government jobs rose by 1,200. The largest gains were in trade, transportation and utilities, leisure and hospitality, and professional and business services, which each added more than 3,000 jobs from January. Leisure and hospitality and professional and business services both set new record high levels in February.

Over the year, total nonfarm jobs in Pennsylvania were up 24,600 (+0.4 percent). The growth was primarily within private service providing industries. The largest gains were in leisure and hospitality (+19,300), and professional and business services (+12,300).

January’s rankings for Fulton’s neighboring counties include Franklin at number 12, with an unemployment rate of 5.4 percent. In December, it was ranked number 13, with an unemployment rate of 5.7 percent. It was tied with Columbia and Susquehanna counties for the number 12 ranking.

Bedford’s ranking for January was also number 46, with a 6.9 percent rate. In December, it was ranked 53rd, with a rate of 7.8 percent.

Huntingdon County posted an 8.3 percent unemployment rate for January, with a number 65 ranking. The December rate was 8.8 percent, with a number 66 ranking.

Chester and Montour counties claimed the number 1 ranking, with an unemployment rate of 4.9 percent, while Adams, Cumberland and Lebanon counties came in next with a 5.0 percent rate in January.

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