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Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton- Latest data indicates region’s unemployment rate still highest in Pennsylvania

03.16.12

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

Latest data indicates region’s unemployment rate still highest in Pennsylvania

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, February 11th- 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 Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) includes Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wyoming Counties. Twelve months ago the unemployment rate for the region was 9.6 percent.

Normally the DOL releases labor market data approximately every four weeks however, due to their annual extensive review of workforce information, the agency will delay the release of the monthly statistics till the middle of March.

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.

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

Local defense contractors attempting to hold-on to workers

03.16.12

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

Local defense contractors attempting to hold-on to workers

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, February 17th- Cuts in the United States defense budget has resulted in lay-offs at the General Dynamics Land Systems plant in Eynon, Lackawanna County.

The United Auto Workers of America (UAW) Union Local 1193 represents the workers employed at the plant, which reconditions parts for the M1A1 Abrams tank. The tank was used in combat in Irag and Afghanistan.

Local 1193 had approxiamtely 200 members at the Eynon facility in 2010, however more than 50 workers have been laid-off, many fearing permanently, due to cut-backs in defense spending in Washington, DC.

“There is talk about shutting down the program for four years and then restarting it. We doubt that would happen. The restart costs would be unbelievable and our members would need to find other jobs,” Ken Klinkel, President of Local 11993 told the newspaper in a previous edition.

The Department of Labor (DOL) Rapid Response Team met with the dislocated workers of the plant.

The Rapid Response Team includes officials which represent agencies that assist laid-off or soon to be laid-off workers in gaining new employment, signing-up for unemployment benefits, and explaining to them other programs that are available to help them with the job loss.

Mr. Klinkel told the newspaper the tank was heavily used during the war in Irag, but with the “pull-back” of American forces in the middle-east, funding for the tank program has been cut.

Mr. Klinkel stated with problems currently on-going with Iran, which has threatened to attack American ships and has stated would attempt to stop oil from being shipped from the region, now is not the time to make further cuts to the Abrams tank program.

Defense cuts also affected the General Dynamics Corporation ammunition plant in Scranton. The workers of the plant are represented by the International Association of Machinists (IAM) Union Local Lodge 847.

The plant however has been successful in gaining other contracts, such as providing “elbows” used in drilling for natural gas, to keep workers employed during the military cut-backs.