Unemployment drops sharply in Fulton and Franklin counties

May 31, 1999|By DON AINES

YORK, Pa. - After rising each of the first three months of the year, the unemployment rate in Franklin County fell sharply in April, according to preliminary figures released today by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

The jobless rate fell from 5.1 percent in March to 4.3 percent in April, according to the report. The number of people listed as unemployed dropped by 500 to 2,800 while the number of people with jobs climbed by 600 to 62,500.

The total labor force increased by 200 to 65,300, the report says.

The unemployment rate dropped sharply in Fulton County, also, declining from 4.6 percent in March to 3.1 percent in April. That was just above the county's all-time low of 3 percent recorded in June 1998.

The number of jobless there dropped from 300 to 200, according to the department figures. The number of people employed was up by 100 to 6,400 while the labor force held steady at 6,600.


State labor market analyst Larry Baugher credited the jump in jobs to businesses gearing up for the summer season, including seasonal hiring in construction, agriculture and recreational businesses, such as golf courses.

The total number of nonfarm jobs in the two counties rose by 600 to 55,800 in April. Goods-producing industries were up by 300 to 18,200 and service industries were up by 300 to 37,600.

Construction jobs were up by 200 to 2,500 and industrial machinery employment was up by 100 to 8,000, the report said. Wholesale and retail businesses added 200 jobs to reach 12,800.

While a number of industries have closed or announced layoffs in recent months, a number of those who lost jobs have been called back or hired elsewhere. Grove Worldwide in Shady Grove called back about 100 workers in May, a figure not reflected in the latest unemployment numbers.

On Thursday, Franklin County Area Development Corp. Executive Director L. Michael Ross said about 40 percent of the 300 workers who lost jobs when a Little Tykes toy plant closed on March 31 have found new jobs or are in job training programs.

Although the plant was located in Cumberland County, Ross said about 70 percent of its workforce was from Franklin County.

Fulton County's unemployment rate was tied with three others for eighth lowest among 67 counties. Franklin County was tied with Tioga County for 26th lowest, Baugher said.

Pennsylvania's unemployment rate for April was 4.2 percent. The national rate was 4.3 percent, according to the department statistics.

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