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Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA’s unemployment rate drops, but remains highest in state

12.17.14

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

MSA’s unemployment rate drops, but remains highest in state

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, December 4th- The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) continues to have the highest unemployment rate among the 14 MSA’s within Pennsylvania but according to the recently released data the rate has decreased by four-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. The MSA has had the highest unemployment rate within Pennsylvania for more than six 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 6.3 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 8.7 percent. The current unemployment rate for the MSA is the lowest since August 2008 when it was also at 6.3 percent.

The main reason the MSA’s unemployment has declined during the past year is because of the decline of the workforce, not because the job market has improved. The MSA’s civilian labor-force was 280,000 twelve months ago but currently the labor-force is at 273,600. Also, one year ago there were 255,800 civilians employed within the MSA while currently there are 256,200 employed within the civilian workforce. The main-stream newspaper, reported that the local economy has improved from twelve months ago because the lowering of the MSA’s unemployment rate.

The unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 5.4 percent, decreasing by three-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month. Pennsylvania has a seasonally adjusted civilian labor force of 6,363,000 with 345,000 not working. Pennsylvania has 6,019,000 civilians with employment. Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate decreased by one and seven-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 5.8 percent, decreasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report.

The Johnstown MSA has the second highest unemployment rate at 6.1 percent, the Philadelphia MSA has the third highest unemployment rate at 5.8 percent while the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the fourth highest unemployment rate in the state at 5.6 percent.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 4.1 percent. The Lancaster MSA and the Lebanon MSA are tied for the second lowest at 4.3 percent while the Harrisburg MSA has the third lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 4.4 percent.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre MSA has the fifth largest labor-force in Pennsylvania with 273,600 civilians, unchanged from the previous report. There are 17,300 civilians without employment, decreasing by 900 from the previous report. The Philadelphia MSA has the largest labor-force in Pennsylvania at 2,976,500 with 173,800 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest labor-force at 1,239,600 with 61,800 without jobs; and the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor-force at 427,400 with 23,700 not working.

The Williamsport MSA has the smallest labor-force in Pennsylvania with 62,800 civilians and 3,400 of them have no jobs. The Altoona MSA has the second smallest labor-force with 63,900 civilians with 3,100 without employment and the Johnstown MSA is third with a labor-force of 65,300 and 4,000 of them are not working.

Lackawanna County has the lowest unemployment rate within the MSA at 5.7 percent, dropping by four-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report.

Luzerne County has the highest unemployment rate within the MSA at 6.1 percent, dropping by seven-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. Wyoming County’s unemployment rate is 5.9 percent.