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Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA unemployment rate increases to 7.7 percent

02.20.09

February 2009 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

MSA unemployment rate increases to 7.7 percent

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsswb@aol.com

REGION, February 4th- According to labor data provided by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Labor and Industry, the region’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 7.7 percent, increasing by seven-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) includes Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wyoming Counties. Twelve months ago the unemployment rate for the region was 5.3 percent. The last time the region had a unemployment rate this high was April 1996, also at 7.7 percent.

The MSA’s unemployment rate continues to remain higher than Pennsylvania and the nation. The unemployment rate in the state is 6.7 percent, increasing by six-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month. Pennsylvania has a seasonally adjusted civilian labor force of 6,442,000 with 434,000 not working and 6,009,000 with employment. The national unemployment rate is 7.2 percent, increasing by five-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month. There are 11,108,000 civilians in the nation without employment.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA civilian labor force, workers between eighteen and sixty-five years old, increased by 1,900 from the previous month to 284,300 and increased by 7,200 during the previous twelve months. There are 22,000 civilians not working within the MSA, increasing by 2,400 from the previous month, and increasing by 7,200 from twelve months before.

The MSA has the fifth largest labor force in Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia MSA has the largest labor force at 2,997,200 with 201,200 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA is second at 1,219,400 with 76,200 without jobs; the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor force at 420,300 with 29,700 not working; and the Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA has the fourth largest civilian labor force at 285,600 with 16,500 residents without employment.

Of the 14 MSA’s within Pennsylvania, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA has the second highest unemployment rate with only the much smaller Johnstown MSA the only region with a higher unemployment rate at 7.9 percent, which rate increased by eight-tenths of a percentage point from the month before. The Johnstown MSA only has a civilian labor force of 68,300, with only the Altoona MSA and the Williamsport MSA with a smaller civilian labor force in Pennsylvania. The Williamsport MSA has the third highest unemployment rate in the state at 7.6 percent. The Lebanon MSA and the State College MSA are tied for the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 5.1 percent. The Lancaster MSA is second at 5.5 percent with the Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA third at 5.8 percent.

Within the MSA, Lackawanna County has the lowest unemployment rate at 7.4 percent, increasing by eight-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month and two and three-tenths of a percentage point from twelve month before. Lackawanna County has a labor force of 108,100, increasing by 700 from the month before and 2,700 during the past twelve months. There are 8,000 residents without jobs, increasing by 900 from the previous month and increasing by 2,700 from twelve months ago.

Luzerne County has the highest unemployment rate in the MSA at 7.9 percent, increasing by seven-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month and increasing by one and five-tenths of a percentage point from one year ago. Luzerne County has a labor force of 161,500, increasing by 1,000 from the month before and jumping by 4,200 during the previous twelve months. There are 12,800, increasing by 1,300 from the previous month and increasing by 4,300 from one year ago, residents in Luzerne County not working.

Wyoming County has a unemployment rate of 7.6 percent, increasing by one full percentage point from the month before and increasing by one and nine-tenths of a percentage point from one year ago. Wyoming County has a labor force of 14,600, unchanged from the month before and increasing by 300 during the past year. There are 1,100 Wyoming County residents not working, increasing by 100 from the previous month and increasing by 300 from one year ago.

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