Jobless rates drop in region, state

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate decreased to 4.9 percent for August, according to numbers from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

The rates for Clinton, Lycoming and Potter counties are all higher than the state and national averages, while Centre County had the lowest rate (in a tie with Chester County) in the state.

In Clinton County, the unemployment rate was 6 percent last month, 1.2 percent lower than August 2016’s rate which was 7.2 percent. Over the past year, the total number of nonfarm jobs in the county increased by 500, to about 13,900.

Lycoming County’s unemployment rate also dropped, by 1.1 percent from August 2016 to last month. The county’s rate in August 2017 was 5.7 percent. Lycoming County’s unemployment rate was tied last month with that of McKean County’s as the 49th lowest rate among the state’s 67 counties.

Also over the past year, Lycoming County jobs declined by 1.1 percent (about 600 jobs), while jobs in the state overall were up by 1 percent.

Potter County’s jobless rate dropped significantly, from 8 percent in August 2016 to 6.2 percent this August. The county lost 100 nonfarm jobs over that same period of time. Last month the nonfarm jobs in the county totaled about 5,500.

Centre County, as usual, had the lowest unemployment rate out of the four counties, at 3.4 percent, which is .8 percent lower than its rate of 4.2 percent in August 2016. Centre’s rate also is lower than the state and national rates.

Total nonfarm jobs in Centre County decreased by 600 over the past year, to 74,800.

Across Pennsylvania, the jobless rate decreased by one-tenth of a percentage point from July. Pennsylvania’s rate remained above that of the United States, which rose one-tenth of a percentage point in August to 4.4 percent. Over the year, the Pennsylvania rate declined by six-tenths of a percentage point while the national rate was down by one-half of a percentage point.

Pennsylvania’s civilian labor force was down 30,000 over the month to 6,428,000. Resident employment and unemployment both declined over the month, but since last August, employment was up by 18,000 while unemployment shrank by 40,000.

Pennsylvania’s nonfarm jobs count was down 8,000 from July’s record high to 5,953,700 in August. Jobs were down in seven of the 11 “super-sectors” with the largest movement in education and health services (down 5,300). The largest increase was a gain of 2,100 leisure and hospitality jobs, pushing that super-sector to a new record high for the third consecutive month.

Total nonfarm jobs in Pennsylvania were up 1 percent from August 2016, while jobs in the United States were up 1.4 percent. Six super-sectors in the commonwealth added jobs over the year, with three adding more than 20,000. The largest increase over the past 12 months was in leisure and hospitality (up 25,000), and the largest decline was in government (down 9,600).

The unemployment rates in this article are seasonally adjusted, which the state Department of Labor and Industry says provides the most valid month-to-month comparison.

Additional information is available on the L&I website at www.dli.pa.gov.

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