Thursday, July 10, 2014

Region’s jobless rate retreating

August 28. 2013 10:03AM

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The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metropolitan statistical area inched down another tenth of a percentage point in July, marking the sixth consecutive month with a drop. But at 9.1 percent, the rate was still the highest of the state’s 14 MSAs.

The rate was the lowest in this region since March 2012, when the rate was also 9.1 percent.

The state rate was unchanged over the month, at 7.5 percent, while the U.S. rate was 7.4 percent, down two-tenths. Over the past year, the local unemployment rate fell half of a percentage point, Pennsylvania’s rate decreased six-tenths of a point, while the U.S. rate dropped eight-tenths.

Within the metro area, unemployment in Luzerne County mirrored the region at 9.1 percent in July. Lackawanna County’s rate was 8.7 percent while the rate was 8.9 percent in Wyoming County. The three counties comprise the MSA.

Even with the fall of the unemployment rate, July marked the 40th consecutive month that this region had the highest rate in the state. Along with Johnstown, which had an unemployment rate of 8.7 percent, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metro was the only one in the state with a rate above 8 percent.

A closer look at the monthly data report shows this region’s seasonally adjusted employment increased by 700 from June to 260,200, while the labor force rose by 400 to 286,100. Seasonally adjusted unemployment decreased by 300 to 25,900.

When broken down into sectors and supersectors, the region showed:

• Health care and social assistance posted a decline of 1,000 jobs over the year; a large portion of the drop was attributable to hospital employment, which was down 600 jobs over the year.

• Professional and business services and leisure and hospitality, despite being essentially flat over the month, were both up 1,400 jobs over the same period last year.

• Trade, transportation and utilities declined by 400 jobs over the month; however, over the year, this sector is up 1,000 jobs. Included in that supersector is retail jobs, which were down 300 month-to-month and 300 over the year.

• Government jobs were down 2,000 from June but up 300 over the year.

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