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Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton (PA) -Region’s unemployment rate increases to 8.7 percent

05.17.09

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

Region’s unemployment rate increases to 8.7 percent

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, May 1st- According to labor data provided by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Labor and Industry, the region’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 8.7 percent, increasing by two-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 3 and three-tenths percentage points lower at 5.5 percent. The last time the region had a unemployment rate this high was in March 1994.

The MSA’s unemployment rate continues to remain higher than Pennsylvania and the nation. The unemployment rate in the state is 7.8 percent, increasing by three-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month. Pennsylvania has a seasonally adjusted civilian labor force of 6,431,000 with 499,000 not working and 5,932,000 with employment. The national unemployment rate is 8.5 percent, increasing by four-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month. There are 13,161,000 civilians in the nation without employment.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA civilian labor force, workers between eighteen and sixty-five years old, decreased by 1,900 from the previous month to 284,400 and increased by 3,600 during the previous twelve months. There are 24,700 civilians not working in the MSA, increasing by 400 from the previous month, and increasing by 9,200 from twelve months ago.

The MSA has the fifth largest labor force in Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia MSA has the largest labor force at 2,996,600 with 238,100 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA is second at 1,135,300 with 88,100 without jobs; the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor force at 423,800 with 35,100 not working; and the Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA has the fourth largest civilian labor force at 286,800 with 20,200 residents without employment.

Of the 14 MSA’s within Pennsylvania, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA is tied with the much smaller Williamsport MSA for the highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania. The Williamsport MSA has the smallest labor force in Pennsylvania at 59,700. The Altoona MSA has the second smallest labor force with 64,900 civilians and the Johnstown MSA is third with 69,100 civilians.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 5.6 percent with the Lebanon MSA having the second lowest unemployment rate in the state at 6.7 percent and the Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA third at 7.0 percent.

Lackawanna County has the lowest unemployment rate in the MSA at 8.1 percent, increasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous month and jumping two and eight-tenths of a percentage points from one year ago. Lackawanna County has a labor force of 107,900, decreasing by 600 from the month before and decreasing by 1,000 during the past twelve months. There are 8,800 Lackawanna County residents without jobs, increasing by 200 from the month before and increasing by 3,100 from one year ago.

Luzerne County has the highest unemployment rate in the MSA at 9.1 percent, increasing by three-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month and increasing by 3 and four-tenths of a percentage points from one year ago. Luzerne County has a labor force of 162,000, the largest in the MSA. The labor force has decreased by 700 from the month before and increased by 2,500 during the past year. Of the labor force 14,700 are not working which is 300 more than the month before and 5,600 more than one year ago.

Wyoming County has a unemployment rate of 9.0 percent, increasing by six-tenths of a percentage point from the month before and increasing by 3 and three-tenths percentage points from one year ago. Wyoming County has a labor force of 14,600, unchanged from the month before and increasing by 200 during the past year. There are 1,300 Wyoming County residents not working, increasing by 100 from the previous month and jumping by 450 from one year ago.

In The MSA, total nonfarm jobs dropped by 6,600 from one year ago to 252,900. In the sector, manufacturing jobs was the biggest loser, dropping 2,800 with construction jobs number two decreasing by 1,100.

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