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Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA’s unemployment rate still highest despite decrease

06.20.14

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

MSA’s unemployment rate still highest despite decrease

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, May 30th- The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) continues to have the highest unemployment rate among the 14 MSA’s within Pennsylvania, but the rate dropped by four-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. 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 7.3 percent. The last report 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 9.2 percent. The unemployment rate is the lowest for the MSA since December 2008.

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 MSA’s civilian labor-force is 5,700 less than it was twelve month ago.

The unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 5.7 percent, dropping by four-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. Pennsylvania has a seasonally adjusted civilian labor force of 6,443,000 with 368,000 not working and 6,075,000 with employment. Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate decreased by one and nine-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 6.3 percent, dropping by four-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report.

The Johnstown MSA has the second highest unemployment rate at 6.9 percent, the Philadelphia MSA has the third highest unemployment rate at 6.3 percent and the Williamsport MSAis fourth at 6.2 percent.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 4.2 percent. The Lancaster MSA has the second lowest unemployment rate at 4.6 percent while the Lebanon MSA has the third lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 4.7 percent.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre MSA has the fifth largest labor-force in Pennsylvania with 278,500 civilians. There are 20,400 civilians without employment. The Philadelphia MSA has the largest labor-force in Pennsylvania at 2,985,500 with 188,900 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest labor-force at 1,178,200 with 69,500 without jobs; and the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor-force at 429,000 with 26,600 not working. The Harrisburg MSA has the fourth largest labor-force with 289,300 civilians with 14,500 jobless.

The Williamsport MSA has the smallest labor-force in Pennsylvania with 63,500 civilians and 3,900 of them have no jobs. The Altoona MSA has the second smallest labor-force with 64,600 civilians with 3,600 without employment and the Johnstown MSA is third with a labor-force of 66,200 and 4,600 of them are not working.

Lackawanna County has the lowest unemployment rate within the MSA at 6.7 percent, decreasing by six-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. Lackawanna County has a civilian labor force of 105,400, with 7,000 jobless.

Luzerne County has the highest unemployment rate at 7.2 percent, decreasing by eight-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. Luzerne County has a civilian labor force of 158,000, the largest within the MSA, with 11,400 civilians not employed, the most within the MSA.

The unemployment rate in Wyoming County is 7.1 percent, dropping by seven-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. Wyoming County has a civilian labor-force of 14,000, with 1,000 jobless.