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Franklin jobless rate averages 4.3 percent in 1999

January 31, 2000|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The jobless rate in Franklin County averaged 4.3 percent in 1999, finishing the year with unemployment at 3.6 percent in December, according to preliminary figures released today by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

The December rate was down from 4.3 percent in November, said Labor Market Analyst Wayne Schopf. The county was tied with two others for the 25th lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania, he said.

Fulton County had an average unemployment rate of 3.8 percent in 1999. The rate rose from 3.6 percent in November to 4.1 percent in December, according to the report. Schopf said the county was tied with two others for the 31 lowest jobless rate among the state's 67 counties.

Both counties hit their unemployment highs early in the year, Schopf said. Franklin's rate hit 5.1 percent in March and Fulton had a 5.5 percent jobless rate in January.

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December's 3.6 percent was the low for Franklin County and Fulton's rate dipped to 2.6 percent in May and remained at three percent of less for four straight months, Schopf said.

Overall unemployment in Franklin County was above the 1998 average of 3.8 percent, but well below the 4.9 percent for 1997, according to Labor and Industry figures. Fulton's 1998 average jobless rate was 4.1 percent and 7.8 percent in 1997.

The December jobless rates were almost the same for both counties as they were a year ago, in December 1998, when the rate was 3.5 percent in Franklin County and 4.2 percent in Fulton County.

Unemployment in Pennsylvania was 4.1 in December and 4.1 percent nationwide, according to the report.

The number of people working in Franklin County in December was unchanged at 62,400 and remained steady in Fulton County at approximately 6,400.

The biggest change in Franklin County was a drop in the number of people listed as unemployed from 2,800 to 2,300. The civilian labor force also fell by 500 to 64,700, the report said.

Schopf said a number of factors could account for the drop in the number of jobless, including a decrease in the number of people filing for benefits or whose benefits have run out. "By definition, you have to be actively looking for a job" to be listed as unemployed, he said.

There were no major shifts in nonagricultural jobs in the two counties, which were up by 100 to 56,300. Manufacturing jobs were up by 200 to 18,500 with durable goods makers and the publishing and printing industries each recording increases of approximately 100 new workers, the report said.

Service jobs were unchanged at 37,800 in December, the report said.

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