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Jobless rate down for December in Franklin County

January 30, 2001

Jobless rate down for December in Franklin County



By STACEY DANZUSO / Staff Writer, Chambersburg


HARRISBURG, Pa. - After several months of rising unemployment rates, the jobless rate in Franklin County dropped in December for the first time since August, according to preliminary figures from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

The December statistics, which were released Monday, list the unemployment rate as 3.9 percent, down from 4.3 percent in November.

Wayne Schopf, a labor market analyst, said he didn't think the figures were too significant and only reflected a temporary rebound due to holiday hiring.

"Construction workers are laid off in December and January. The retail trade people hired for Christmas will also be laid off in January," Schopf said. "I think the figures in January will bounce back up."

December figures do not reflect the most recent round of layoffs at Grove Worldwide in Shady Grove, Pa., and two other Franklin County businesses earlier this month.

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Grove Worldwide announced Jan. 19 it would cut another 290 workers, adding to several hundred other employees it laid off in September and October.

The cuts have been attributed to an effort to make Grove more competitive in the marketplace, Grove officials have said.

Landis Gardner, a Unova Co., at 20 E. Sixth St. in Waynesboro, laid off 40 production and office workers because of downturns in the auto industry.

Landis makes precision machine products used in the manufacture of engines.

Beck Manufacturing also made cutbacks this month, but officials at the Greencastle manufacturing plant have declined to say how many workers were laid off.

In Fulton County, the jobless rate in December rose to 4.4 percent, up from 3.9 percent in November, according to the Department of Labor.

In Fulton County, there were 6,500 people in the labor force, with 300 unemployed, the same as November.

Schopf said the rise in the unemployment rate could be due to an increased number of claims.

In December, there were 63,600 people in Franklin County's labor force, with 2,500 of them unemployed. That's down from 64,200 and 2,800 in November.

Unemployment rates in both counties were above last year's rates.

In December 1999, the jobless rate in Franklin County was 3.6 percent. In Fulton County, it was 4.1 percent.

The state unemployment rate was 4.4 percent in December and the country's rate was 4 percent.

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