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Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton Local unemployment rate increases to 9.8 percent

12.18.09

JANUARY 2010, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Local unemployment rate increases to 9.8 percent

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, December 8th- According to labor data provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry Center for Workforce Information and Analysis in Harrisburg, the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased by three-tenths of a percentage point to 9.8 percent. The MSA includes Lehigh, Northampton, and Carbon Counties of Pennsylvania and Warren County, New Jersey. Twelve months ago the unemployment rate for the region was 6.1 percent.

There are fourteen Metropolitan Statistical Area’s in Pennsylvania and the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton Metropolitan Statistical Area has the third highest unemployment rate in the Commonwealth. Since December 2007, the unemployment rate for the MSA has increased in twenty of the past twenty-four months.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 8.8 percent, unchanged from the previous report, which was released approximately four weeks ago. There are 561,000 Pennsylvania residents without jobs. That number does not include workers who have exhausted their unemployment benefits. Pennsylvania has a seasonally adjusted workforce of 6,340,000 and 5,779,000 of them have employment. The national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate reported is 10.2 percent, increasing by four-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. There are 15,700,000 residents nationally unemployed. That number also does not include workers who benefits have expired and stopped looking for work.

The data shows the Erie MSA has the highest unemployment rate in the state at 10.1 percent. The Williamsport MSA has the second highest unemployment rate in the state at 9.9 percent.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 6.1 percent, with the Lebanon MSA second at 7.4 percent. The Altoona MSA and the Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA are tied for third lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 7.8 percent.

The Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest civilian labor force in Pennsylvania at 416,800, dropping by 2,800 from the previous report and dropping by 4,500 during the past twelve months. There are 40,800 residents in the MSA without jobs, rising by 800 from the previous report and increasing by 14,900 during the past twelve months.

The Philadelphia MSA has the largest civilian labor force in Pennsylvania at 2,948,900 with 267,000 residents not working. The Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest civilian labor force at 1,206,700, with 99,600 residents unemployed. The Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA has the fourth largest civilian labor force in the state at 281,100, with 22,000 residents unemployed. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre MSA has the fifth largest civilian labor force at 279,100 with 27,000 residents not working.

The Williamsport MSA has the smallest civilian labor force in Pennsylvania at 59,000. The Altoona MSA is the second smallest at 63,200 with the Johnstown MSA the third smallest at 67,700.

Carbon County has the highest unemployment rate in the MSA at 11.2 percent, increasing by three and nine-tenths percentage points from twelve months ago. Northampton County has the lowest unemployment rate in the MSA at 9.6 percent, rising by three and five-tenths percentage points during the past twelve months. Lehigh County has a unemployment rate of 9.9 percent, rising by three and seven-tenths of a percentage points from one year ago.

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