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Pa. jobless rate declines

August 28, 2000

Pa. jobless rate declines



By DON AINES / Staff Writer, Chambersburg


HARRISBURG, Pa. - The number of local government employees in Franklin and Fulton counties plummeted in July, but the jobless rates in both counties also fell, according to preliminary figures released today by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

The unemployment rate in Franklin County fell from 3.5 percent in June to 3.3 percent in July, according to the report. In Fulton County the rate dropped from 3.4 percent to 3.2 percent.

The drops occurred despite a decline from 4,500 to 3,600 in the number of local government employees. Almost all of them are nonfaculty school district employees normally off the payroll during the summers, according to Labor Market Analyst Wayne Schopf.

"Local government dropped 900 and that's just schools. They cut back every July and come back in August and September," Schopf said.

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Despite those people entering the job market, the number of people unemployed fell in Franklin County from 2,300 to 2,100. Schopf said that reflects the college and high school students who entered the job market in May and June and secured employment.

Those same students are now leaving the market to return to school, he said. Franklin County's labor force, the total of working and jobless people, rose by 100 in July to 64,400.

In Fulton County, the number of people employed remained steady at 6,300 and the number of unemployed was unchanged at 200 when the numbers were rounded off.

For the two-county labor market the number of nonfarm jobs fell by 600 to 55,200, the report said. Manufacturing jobs were unchanged at 18,300 and service sector jobs fell by 600 to 36,900, the report said.

Losses in nondurable goods production were offset by a seasonal increase in construction jobs, according to Schopf. The report said an increase of 300 in retail, wholesale and service jobs partially offset the seasonal loss in school jobs.

The July survey does not reflect an announcement earlier this month that Toysrus.com's distribution center in Chambersburg would not open. Schopf said the loss of about 200 jobs would not have a major impact on a labor force of almost 65,000.

Fulton County had the 12th lowest jobless rate among Pennsylvania's 67 counties and Franklin County was tied with Perry County for the 13th lowest rate, Schopf said. In July 1999, the unemployment rate in Franklin County was 4.8 percent, according to department figures. Fulton County's rate is unchanged from one year ago.

Pennsylvania's jobless rate in July was four percent, the same as the national rate, the report said.

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