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Tight labor market remains in Franklin County

December 08, 2004|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The unemployment rate rose slightly in October from 3 percent to 3.1 percent, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, but some area employers are still looking to recruit workers in a tight labor market.

The number of people working dropped by 100 to 64,900, while the number of people listed as unemployed rose by 100 to 2,100. The total labor force remained steady at 67,000, according to the department's nonseasonally adjusted figures.

Franklin County had the third-lowest jobless rate among Pennsylvania's 67 counties, according to the department. The rate in October 2003 was 3.3 percent, according to department numbers.

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Despite the low jobless rate, some businesses needed more employees to meet holiday season demand. Integrity Staffing Solutions held a job fair that ended last Friday to hire temporary workers for the Amazon.com warehouse in Chambersburg, according to Business Development Manager Jordan Kaiser.

Integrity was hiring workers for $11 an hour for weekday and $12 an hour for weekend shifts, Kaiser said. That included plenty of overtime pay because the temporary hires are working 60-hour weeks.

Kaiser said most warehouse and distribution centers in the Chambersburg area are paying similar wages because of the demand for help. He said these are good jobs for people moving from one job to another, or just looking to make additional money for the holidays.

Integrity had about 350 employees working in the Amazon.com warehouse, he said.

Fulton County also saw a small increase in unemployment, from 4.8 percent in September to 4.9 percent in October, according to department numbers. The number of people working remained at 6,400, as did the number of jobless at 300 with the increase attributed to rounding off numbers, according to the department.

The Franklin-Fulton labor market had the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 3.7 percent, based on the department's seasonally adjusted figures.

Total nonfarm employment in the two counties was up by 100 to 55,900 in October, according to the department. As cold weather began to set in, the number of construction jobs fell by 100 to 3,000, but manufacturing jobs held steady at 10,700.

Service sector jobs rose by 200 to 42,200, according to the department. Retail trade, educational and health services and local government employment were up, while federal government jobs fell slightly, the state said.

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