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Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA’s unemployment rate still highest in state at 7.7 percent

05.26.14

MAY 2014, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

MSA’s unemployment rate still highest in state at 7.7 percent

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, April 30th- The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) continues to have the highest unemployment rate among the 14 MSA’s within Pennsylvania. The MSA has had the highest unemployment rate within Pennsylvania for more than five consecutive years.

According to labor data provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, Center for Workforce Information and Analysis in Harrisburg, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre MSA, seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 7.7 percent, decreasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report, which was released approximately one month before. The Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Luzerne, Lackawanna and Wyoming Counties of Pennsylvania. Twelve months ago the unemployment rate for the region was 9.3 percent. The unemployment rate is the lowest for the MSA since January 2009.

The MSA’s unemployment is lower because of the decline of the workforce after long-term out of work civilians lost their unemployment benefits at the end of 2013 when Washington did not pass legislation to extend the benefit. After workers exhaust their unemployment benefits they are no longer counted as jobless, and taken from employment data.

The unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 6.0 percent, dropping by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. Pennsylvania has a seasonally adjusted civilian labor force of 6,442,000 with 390,000 not working and 6,052,000 with employment. Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate decreased by one and seven-tenths of a percentage point over the past twelve months, also because of the decrease of the labor-force due to workers having exhausted their unemployment benefits. Meanwhile, the nation unemployment rate was reported to be at 6.7 percent, unchanged from the previous report.

The Johnstown MSA has the second highest unemployment rate at 7.2 percent, the Williamsport MSA and the Philadelphia MSA area tied with the third highest unemployment rate at 6.6 percent.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 4.6 percent. The Lebanon MSA and the Lebanon MSA are tied for the second lowest unemployment rate at 4.8 percent while the Harrisburg MSA has the third lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 5.2 percent.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre MSA has the fifth largest labor-force in Pennsylvania with 278,900 civilians, dropping by 5,500 from twelve months before. There are 21,400 civilians without employment. The Philadelphia MSA has the largest labor-force in Pennsylvania at 2,983,800 with 195,600 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest labor-force at 1,244,100 with 72,300 without jobs; and the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor-force at 428,800 with 27,600 not working. The Harrisburg MSA has the fourth largest labor-force with 289,600 civilians with 15,200 jobless.

The Williamsport MSA has the smallest labor-force in Pennsylvania with 63,500 civilians and 4,200 of them have no jobs. The Altoona MSA has the second smallest labor-force with 64,600 civilians with 3,700 without employment and the Johnstown MSA is third with a labor-force of 66,200 and 4,800 of them are not working.

Lackawanna County has the lowest unemployment rate within the MSA at 7.3 percent, decreasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report. Lackawanna County has a civilian labor force of 106,200, with 7,800 jobless.

Luzerne County has the highest unemployment rate at 8.0 percent, increasing by one-tenth of a percentage point. Luzerne County has a civilian labor force of 159,500, the largest within the MSA, with 12,700 civilians not employed.

The unemployment rate in Wyoming County is 7.9 percent, increasing by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. Wyoming County has a civilian labor-force of 14,100, with 1,100 jobless.