Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA’s unemployment rate at 6.8 percent, still highest in state

09.22.14

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

MSA’s unemployment rate at 6.8 percent, still highest in state

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, August 30th- The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) continues to have the highest unemployment rate among the 14 MSA’s within Pennsylvania however, the rate declined by one-tenth 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 6.8 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 9.0 percent. The current unemployment rate for the MSA is the lowest since October 2008 when it was 6.7 percent.

The main reason the MSA’s unemployment is lower is because of the decline of the workforce, not because the job market has improved. The MSA’s civilian labor-force is 1,100 less than it was in the previous report and 7,800 lower than twelve months ago. One year ago there were 257,200 civilians employed within the MSA while currently there are 255,900 employed within the civilian workforce.

The unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 5.7 percent, rising by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous month. Pennsylvania has a seasonally adjusted civilian labor force of 6,371,000 with 361,000 not working and 6,011,000 with employment. Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate decreased by one and eight-tenths of a percentage point over the past twelve months, mainly because of the decrease of the labor-force due to workers having exhausted their unemployment benefits.

Meanwhile, the nation’s unemployment rate was reported to be at 6.2 percent, also increasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report.

The Johnstown MSA has the second highest unemployment rate at 6.5 percent, the Philadelphia MSA and the Erie MSA are tied for the third highest unemployment rate at 6.0 percentwhile the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the fourth highest at 5.9 percent.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 4.1 percent. The Lancaster MSA and the Lebanon are tied for the second lowest at 4.6 percent while the Harrisburg MSA has the third lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 4.8 percent.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre MSA has the fifth largest labor-force in Pennsylvania with 274,500 civilians, dropping by 1,100 from the previous report. There are 18,600 civilians without employment, 400 fewer than the previous report. The Philadelphia MSA has the largest labor-force in Pennsylvania at 2,977,700 with 178,400 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest labor-force at 1,173,400 with 65,400 without jobs; and the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor-force at 427,400 with 25,100 not working.

The Williamsport MSA has the smallest labor-force in Pennsylvania with 62,800 civilians and 3,500 of them have no jobs. The Altoona MSA has the second smallest labor-force with 63,900 civilians with 3,200 without employment and the Johnstown MSA is third with a labor-force of 65,700 and 4,300 of them are not working.

Lackawanna County has the lowest unemployment rate within the MSA at 6.8 percent, increasing by five-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report and dropping by one and eight-tenths percentage points from one year ago. Lackawanna County has a civilian labor force of 104,300, with 7,100 jobless.

Luzerne County and Wyoming County have the same unemployment rate at 7.0 percent.

Luzerne County’s unemployment rate rose by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report and dropped by two and two-tenths percentage points from one year ago. Luzerne County has a civilian labor force of 155,900, with 10,900 civilians not employed.

Wyoming County has a labor-force of 13,800 with 1,000 jobless.