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Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA’s unemployment rate still highest in state at 7.2 percent


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

MSA’s unemployment rate still highest in state at 7.2 percent


REGION, July 2nd- 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 one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report. The MSA has had the highest unemployment rate within Pennsylvania for 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 7.2 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 9.1 percent. The unemployment rate is the lowest for the MSA since November 2008, when it was 7.0 percent.

The main reason the MSA’s unemployment is lower is because of the decline of the workforce after long-term out of work civilians lost their unemployment benefits at the end of 2013, therefore the civilian labor force has decreased and the unemployed workers that exhausted their benefits are no longer counted as jobless and taken from employment data. The MSA’s civilian labor-force is 6,900 less than it was twelve months ago.

The unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 5.6 percent, dropping by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report. Pennsylvania has a seasonally adjusted civilian labor force of 6,431,000 with 363,000 not working and 6,069,000 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, unchanged from the previous report.

The Johnstown MSA has the second highest unemployment rate at 6.8 percent, the Philadelphia MSA has the third highest unemployment rate at 6.2 percent and the Williamsport MSAis fourth at 5.9 percent.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 4.1 percent. The Lebanon MSA has the second lowest unemployment rate at 4.6 percent while the Lancaster 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 277,000 civilians. There are 19,900 civilians without employment. The Philadelphia MSA has the largest labor-force in Pennsylvania at 2,983,400 with 186,300 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest labor-force at 1,246,600 with 68,300 without jobs; and the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor-force at 428,600 with 26,200 not working. The Harrisburg MSA has the fourth largest labor-force with 288,100 civilians with 14,300 jobless.

The Williamsport MSA has the smallest labor-force in Pennsylvania with 63,400 civilians and 3,800 of them have no jobs. The Altoona MSA has the second smallest labor-force with 64,300 civilians with 3,500 without employment and the Johnstown MSA is third with a labor-force of 65,900 and 4,500 of them are not working.

Lackawanna County has the lowest unemployment rate within the MSA at 6.8 percent, decreasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report and dropping by two full percentage points from one year ago. Lackawanna County has a civilian labor force of 104,400, with 7,100 jobless.

Luzerne County has the highest unemployment rate at 7.4 percent, increasing by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. Luzerne County has a civilian labor force of 156,500, the largest within the MSA, with 11,600 civilians not employed, the most within the MSA.

The unemployment rate in Wyoming County is 7.1 percent, rising by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report. Wyoming County has a civilian labor-force of 13,900, with 1,000 jobless.