Jobless rates drop in Pa. counties

September 29, 2004|by DON AINES

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The major business industry categories in Franklin and Fulton counties showed no gains or losses in employment in August, but more people were working and the unemployment levels in both counties dropped, according to preliminary figures from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

Franklin County's jobless rate fell from 3.6 percent in July to 3.5 percent in August, giving it the third lowest rate among the state's 67 counties, according to state figures. Fulton County's unemployment rate went from 4.6 percent to 4.3 percent, ranking it 22nd lowest in the state.

The number of people working in Franklin County rose by 400 to 65,600, while the number listed as unemployed fell by 100 to 2,600, the report stated.

The number of people working in Fulton County remained constant at 6,400, as did the number of jobless at 300, according to the report.


"The unemployment rate change for the county was ... caused by small changes within the rounded numbers," according to the department press release.

The jobless picture was little changed from the previous year when the August 2003 rates were 3.8 percent in Franklin County and 4.2 percent in Fulton County, the report stated.

The number of nonfarm jobs in the two counties was unchanged at 54,800 from July to August, with all categories reporting no changes, according to the statistics. Service sector jobs remained at 41,000, while manufacturing was steady at 10,600 and construction held at 3,100 jobs.

Walter Nichols, an industry and business analyst with the Department of Labor and Industry, said the unemployment and job category numbers are the results of two different surveys.

The unemployment and employment figures are derived from a survey of households called up randomly, he said. It estimates how many people are working or not working, regardless of whether their jobs are in Franklin and Fulton counties, according to Nichols.

The nonfarm job survey is based on reports from employers within the two counties, Nichols said.

"It is a survey of jobs, not individuals," Nichols said. Individuals working outside the two-county labor market are not counted in the job survey, he said.

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