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Scranton/Wilkes-Barre MSA’s unemployment rate decreases to 8.9 percent

02.15.12

FEBRUARY 2012 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

S/WB MSA’s unemployment rate decreases to 8.9 percent

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, January 31st- According to labor data provided by the Pennsylvania, Department of Labor and Industry, the region’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 8.9 percent, decreasing three-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report, which was released approximately four weeks before. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) includes Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wyoming Counties. Twelve months ago the unemployment rate for the region was 9.6 percent.

The unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 7.6 percent, decreasing by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. Pennsylvania has a seasonally adjusted civilian labor force of 6,351,000 with 485,000 not working and 5,865,000 with employment. The national unemployment rate is 8.5 percent, decreasing by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. The unemployment rate does not include civilians who unemployment benefits have expired and stopped looking for work.

There are 13,097,000 civilians in the nation reported to be unemployed. That number does not include civilians that have exhausted their unemployment benefits and have stopped looking for work.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA continues to have the highest unemployment rate among the 14 MSA’s within Pennsylvania.

The Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA and the Philadelphia MSA are tied for the second highest unemployment rate in the Commonwealth at 8.4 percent.

The Johnstown MSA has the third highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 8.2 percent followed by the Reading MSA at 7.9 percent.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 5.1 percent. The Lebanon MSA has the second lowest unemployment rate in the state at 6.0 percent, while the Lancaster MSA has the third lowest unemployment rate at 6.6 percent. The Altoona MSA has the fourth lowest unemployment rate at 6.7 percent.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA has the fourth largest labor force in Pennsylvania at 279,200 civilians with 24,800 not working. The Philadelphia MSA has the largest labor force in Pennsylvania at 2,948,000 with 248,000 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest labor force at 1,231,100 with 85,200 without jobs; and the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor force at 416,400 with 34,900 not working.

The Williamsport MSA has the smallest labor force in Pennsylvania with 60,000 civilians. The Altoona MSA has the second smallest labor force with 64,500 civilians and the Lebanon MSA is third with a labor force of 73,300.

Wyoming County has the lowest unemployment rate within the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre MSA at 7.9 percent. Wyoming County’s unemployment rate decreased by eight-tenths of the percentage point from the previous report and dropped by one and seven-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months ago.

There are 1,100 civilians in Wyoming County without employment, decreasing by 100 from the previous report and dropping by 300 from twelve months ago. Wyoming County has a civilian labor-force of 14,100.

Luzerne County has the highest unemployment rate in the MSA at 9.1 percent, decreasing by four-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report and dropping by seven-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months before. Luzerne County has the largest civilian labor-force in the MSA at 159,200, unchanged from the previous report and dropping by 600 during the past twelve months.

Lackawanna County unemployment rate is 8.6 percent, decreasing by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report and dropping by seven-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months ago. Lackawanna County has a civilian labor force of 105,900, unchanged from the previous report and dropping by 400 during the past twelve months.

UFCW members in Hazleton ratify new five-year contract

02.15.12

FEBRUARY 2012 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

UFCW members in Hazleton ratify new five-year contract

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, February 3rd- Members of the United Food and Commercial Worker (UFCW) Union Local 1776, Route 315 in Pittston, voted to ratify a new labor agreement with Cargill Meat Solutions in Hazleton.

Wendell Young IV, President of Local 1776, stated the membership voted overwhelmingly to approve the five-year labor contract. He said the more than 600 members of the union will receive wage increases and health care benefits under the agreement.

“At a time when the cost of health care benefits continues to be an increasing challenge in negotiations between workers and employers in our region and across the country, Cargill’s representatives and our bargaining committee were able to create a fair proposal for our members to continue providing them with affordable quality health care.

Not every employer has recognized this responsibility. Both sides negotiated in good faith to reach this positive outcome,” Mr. Young stated.

The contract agreement is the third between UFCW Local 1776 and Cargill since the company opened the plant in Hazleton in 2002. The pact was approved by the membership by a ninety-seven percent margin to three percent against.

Michele Kessler, Secretary/Treasurer of Local 1776 and Director of the union’s Northeast and Central Pennsylvania Divisions said the company has other labor agreements with the UFCW throughout the United States.

“As our negotiations moved forward we were able to draw on the experiences of the other UFCW locals to create the best possible result for our members in Hazleton,” stated Ms. Kessler.

Local 1776 has 24,000 members throughout northeast, southeast and central Pennsylvania.