NOVEMBER 2014, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News
MSA’s unemployment rate drops, but remains highest in state
BY PAUL LEESON
REGION, November 1st- The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) continues to have the highest unemployment rate among the 14 MSA’s within Pennsylvania and according to the recently released data but the rate has decreased by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report. The MSA has had the highest unemployment rate within Pennsylvania for nearly six consecutive years.
According to labor data provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, Center for Workforce Information and Analysis in Harrisburg, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre MSA, seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 6.7 percent. The last report was released approximately one month before. The Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Luzerne, Lackawanna and Wyoming Counties of Pennsylvania. Twelve months ago the unemployment rate for the region was 8.8 percent. The current unemployment rate for the MSA is the lowest since October 2008 when it was also at 6.7 percent.
The main reason the MSA’s unemployment has declined during the past year is because of the decline of the workforce, not because the job market has improved. The MSA’s civilian labor-force is 7,400 lower than twelve months ago. Also, one year ago there were 256,200 civilians employed within the MSA while currently there are 255,300 employed within the civilian workforce.
The unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 5.7 percent, also decreasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous month. Pennsylvania has a seasonally adjusted civilian labor force of 6,347,000 with 360,000 not working, dropping by 7,000 from the previous report. Pennsylvania has 5,987,000 civilians with employment. Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate decreased by one and six-tenths of a percentage point over the past twelve months, mainly because of the decrease of the labor-force due to workers having exhausted their unemployment benefits.
Meanwhile, the nation’s unemployment rate was reported to be at 5.9 percent, decreasing by two-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report.
The Johnstown MSA has the second highest unemployment rate at 6.4 percent, the Philadelphia MSA has the third highest unemployment rate at 6.0 percent while the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the fourth highest unemployment rate in the state at 5.8 percent.
The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 4.2 percent. The Lancaster MSA and the Lebanon MSA are tied for the second lowest at 4.5 percent while the Harrisburg MSA has the third lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 4.7 percent.
The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre MSA has the fifth largest labor-force in Pennsylvania with 273,500 civilians, dropping by 600 from the previous report. There are 18,200 civilians without employment, decreasing by 500 from the previous report. The Philadelphia MSA has the largest labor-force in Pennsylvania at 2,975,500 with 177,800 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest labor-force at 1,235,900 with 64,400 without jobs; and the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor-force at 426,300 with 24,800 not working.
The Williamsport MSA has the smallest labor-force in Pennsylvania with 62,700 civilians and 3,500 of them have no jobs. The Altoona MSA has the second smallest labor-force with 63,700 civilians with 3,200 without employment and the Johnstown MSA is third with a labor-force of 65,300 and 4,200 of them are not working.
Lackawanna County has the lowest unemployment rate within the MSA at 6.1 percent, dropping by seven-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. Lackawanna County has a civilian labor force of 103,600, with 6,300 jobless.
Luzerne County has the highest unemployment rate within the MSA at 6.7 percent. Luzerne County has a labor force of 155,400 with 10,400 jobless. Wyoming County’s unemployment rate is 6.5 percent.