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Lehigh Valley unemployment rate drops to 8.4 percent

08.14.11

AUGUST 2011, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Lehigh Valley unemployment rate drops to 8.4 percent

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, July 12th- 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 is 8.4 percent, increasing by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. 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 9.3 percent.

There are fourteen Metropolitan Statistical Area’s in Pennsylvania and the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton Metropolitan Statistical Area is tied with the Philadelphia MSA for the second highest unemployment rate.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA has the highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 8.7 percent. The Johnstown MSA has the third highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 8.2 percent with the Erie MSA fourth at 7.8 percent.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 7.4 percent, decreasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report, which was released approximately four weeks ago. There are 471,000 Pennsylvania residents without jobs, but that number does not include residents that have exhausted their unemployment benefits and stopped looking for work.

Pennsylvania has a seasonally adjusted workforce of 6,344,000 and 5,873,000 of them have employment. The national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was reported to be 9.1 percent, increasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report. That number also does not include residents that have exhausted their unemployment benefits and stopped looking for work.

There are 13,914,000 residents nationally unemployed but counting workers that have exhausted their unemployment benefits or have been unable to find full-time work there are more than 19.3 million Americans without jobs. After workers have exhausted their unemployment benefits they are no longer counted as unemployed unless they continue to apply for work.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 5.5 percent, unchanged from the previous report. The Lebanon MSA has the second lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 6.1 percent and the Lansaster MSA has the third lowest unemployment rate at 6.4 percent. The Altoona MSA has the fourth lowest unemployment rate at 6.6 percent.

The Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor force in Pennsylvania with 417,800 civilians. The Philadelphia MSA has the largest labor force at 2,944,300 with 246,800 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest labor force at 1,213,100 with 84,900 without jobs; the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA has the fourth largest civilian labor force at 280,600 with 24,500 without employment. The Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA has the fifth largest civilian labor force at 278,100 with 19,200 without employment.

Carbon County has the highest unemployment rate in the MSA at 9.7 percent, increasing by four-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report and decreasing by eight-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months ago. Carbon County has a civilian labor force of 31,000 with 3,000 residents without jobs, increasing by 100 from the previous report and dropping by 300 from twelve months ago.

Lehigh County and Northampton County are tied for the lowest unemployment rate within the MSA at 8.2 percent.

Northampton County’s unemployment rate increased by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report and dropped by nine-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months ago.

Northampton County has a civilian labor force of 151,600. There are 12,500 Northampton County residents without jobs, rising by 300 from the previous report and dropping by 1,300 during the past twelve months.

Lehigh County has a civilian labor force of 175,400. There are 14,400 Lehigh County residents without jobs, increasing by 200 from the previous report and dropping by 2,200 from one year ago.

There are 335,900 nonfarm jobs in the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA, decreasing by 1,100 from the previous report and rising by 1,800 from twelve months ago. The Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA is ranked third in nonfarm jobs in the commonwealth.

Over the past twelve months government jobs was the biggest loser, dropping by 3,200 to 42,600. Local government jobs decreased by 1,500 to 37,500 and federal jobs dropped by 1,300 to 2,300 during the past twelve months.

There are 6,000 private jobs in the MSA, decreasing by 300 during the past twelve months.

Retail jobs decreased by 1,500 during the past twelve months. Leisure and hospitality jobs rose 1,400 from the previous month as recreation and amusement industries added staff for the summer.

The Philadelphia MSA has the most nonfarm jobs in Pennsylvania at 2,695,200. The Pittsburgh MSA is second at 1,135,100 jobs.

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