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Jobless rate down in Franklin, up in Fulton

March 31, 2000|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The unemployment rate in Franklin County was below the Pennsylvania and national levels in February, dropping from 4.3 percent to 4 percent, according to preliminary figures released this week by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

The Pennsylvania and national jobless rates were both 4.1 percent last month, the report said. The county rate had jumped from 3.6 percent in December to 4.3 percent in January, largely because of a drop in holiday-related retail and service jobs, according to Labor Market Analyst Wayne Schopf.

Franklin, which was tied with Pike County for the 16th lowest jobless rate among Pennsylvania's 67 counties, had 2,500 people listed as unemployed, a drop of 200 from the previous month. The number of people working remained steady at 60,400 and the total civilian labor force was down 100 to 63,900, the report said.

In February 1999 there were 3,300 unemployed people in the county and the rate was 5.2 percent, according to the report.

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In Fulton County, which has a much smaller labor force at 6,600, an increase of 100 in the number of unemployed raised the jobless rate from 5 percent in January to 6.3 percent in February.

The number of people working was unchanged at 6,200, the report said. Schopf said Fulton's jobless rate ranked 43rd in the state.

Schopf said there was no single reason for the increase. "You have a little bit of a drop in construction, a little drop in retail jobs," he said.

For the two-county labor market, the number of nonfarm jobs increased by 300 to 54,700, the report said. Manufacturing jobs were down 100 to 17,400.

Construction jobs fell by 100 to 2,100, and industrial machinery production jobs dropped by 100 to 7,900. The report said nondurable goods production jobs were up 100 to 2,900.

Service sector jobs were up by 400 to 37,300. Schopf said half that increase was in the miscellaneous category, with the other half in state and local government, primarily schools.

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