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Lehigh Valley job market remains weak with retail job losses

12.29.11

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

Lehigh Valley job market remains weak with retail job losses

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, November 22nd- The job market in the Lehigh Valley remains weak however, over the past twelve months the professional and business services sector has added 1,900 jobs. Government jobs continues to decline, with local government leading the way losing 1,400 jobs from one year ago. Overall government jobs have decreased by 1,800 during the past twelve months.

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 8.9 percent, decreasing by three-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. The Metropolitan Statistical Area 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 has the second highest unemployment rate.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA has the highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 9.7 percent. The Philadelphia MSA and the Johnstown MSA are tied for the third highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 8.7 percent.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 5.6 percent. The Lebanon MSA has the second lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 6.7 percent and the Lansaster MSA has the third lowest
rate at 6.9 percent. The Altoona MSA has the fourth lowest unemployment rate at 7.1 percent.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 8.3 percent, increasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report, which was released approximately four weeks ago. There are 523,000 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 6,334,000 and 5,811,000 of them have employment. The national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was reported to be 9.1 percent, unchanged from the previous report.

There are 13,992,000 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 19.5 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 Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor force in Pennsylvania with 418,100 civilians. The Philadelphia MSA has the largest labor force at 2,970,900 with 258,400 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest labor force at 1,227,200 with 91,200 without jobs; the Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA has the fourth largest civilian labor force at 281,100 with 20,900 without employment. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA has the fifth largest civilian labor force at 279,700 with 27,000 unemployed.

According to the data, retail trade had an expected seasonal job decline from the previous month, however, should recover due to the holiday shopping season.

The service-providing sector declined by 1,300 jobs from twelve months ago, which includes jobs within the trade, transportation and utilities. The largest decliner within the sector was in retail trade, losing 1,100 jobs.

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