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It’s good news: Unemployment rate in area is up

The unemployment rate is up slightly, but it turns out to be good news this month.

The Scranton-Wilkes-Barre-Hazleton Metropolitan Statistical Area’s (MSA’s) seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased by one-tenth of a percentage point in July to 6.3 percent, after two consecutive months of declines.

Luzerne and Schuylkill counties went up two-tenths of a point, while Lackawanna and Carbon counties went up three-tenths of a point.

Steven Zellers, industry and business analyst at the Center for Workforce Information and Analysis, state Department of Labor and Industry in Harrisburg, said the reason the number is up is that more people are looking for a job.

“The economy is doing better,” Zellers said. “A lot of workers rejoined the workforce, but not all of them found a job. The labor force went up 2,000. Of that number, 1,400 found jobs and 700 were added to the unemployment rolls.”

In related news, Tax incentives expected to bring more than 900 jobs to Columbus.

Zellers said over the last decade, June and July have been “volatile” months, in which the unemployment rate went up or down a small amount.

“The numbers are exceedingly good,” Zellers said. “Professional and business services, health care and social assistance, private service-providing, and total private employment were all at record highs.”

Several supersectors showed growth not only from June but also over-the-year as well. The largest of these were: trade, transportation, and utilities, which was up 3,100 from July 2014; professional and business services, which was up 2,900; and education and health services, which was up 4,000.

The S-WB-H MSA’s seasonally adjusted total non-farm jobs increased 2,500 to 266,300 in July, a record high. The previous high was 263,900 jobs, observed in June and July 2007. Over the year, jobs in the MSA were up 3.7 percent, which equates to 9,400 more jobs, while jobs in the state overall were up only 1.1 percent.

July saw continued seasonal over-the-month changes with an increase in mining, logging and construction, while educational services, both private and public, declined further due to the summer break.

The MSA’s rate was the 16th lowest among Pennsylvania’s 18 MSAs. MSA rates ranged from 3.8 percent in the State College MSA to 6.9 percent in the Johnstown area.

Over the month, both the state and U.S. rates were unchanged at 5.4 and 5.3 percent, respectively. Over the year, the S-WB-H MSA rate declined by six-tenths of a percentage point, the state rate decreased by one-tenth of a point, and the national rate fell nine-tenths.

jdino@standardspeaker.com

This article was written by Jim Dino from Standard-Speaker, Hazleton, Pa. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


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