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Franklin County has lowest jobles rate in the state

April 06, 2005|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Franklin County again had the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania in February, remaining unchanged at 3.4 percent, according to preliminary seasonally adjusted figures released Tuesday by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

The number of people working fell by 300 to 72,200 and the total labor force contracted by 300 to 74,800, according to the department. The number of people listed as unemployed was unchanged at 2,600.

The non-seasonally adjusted jobless rate, which does not take into account such seasonal fluctuations as holiday retail employment, increased from 4 percent in January to 4.1 in February, according to the report.

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While unemployment is low, that does not mean people are not looking for work, or that many jobs are going unfilled, said Wes Cool, site administrator at the Team PA CareerLink Center in Chambersburg.

"We've been pretty busy as far as people coming in ... We have 4,000 to 6,000 people a month come through these doors looking for work," Cool said. Many of those, he said, have jobs and are looking for better ones.

There are jobs out there that employers want to fill, but Cool said they are not always the jobs people want to take.

"We have 255 open job orders" from employers, Cool said. "There may be more than one job in an order, so there's probably more than 300 jobs available," he said.

Although it was in Cumberland County, the closing of the Hoffman Mills textile plant in Shippensburg, Pa., in February idled more than 200 people, but Cool said about one-third of them have since found employment. Job assistance for those workers was handled through the center in Chambersburg, he said.

Manufacturing employment in the county fell by 100 to 9,700, but was still up 2.1 percent from one year ago, according to state figures. Construction also fell by 100 in February to 2,500.

Service sector jobs increased by 200 in February due to slight increases in the educational and health services and state government categories, the report stated.

Fulton County's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 4.1 percent to 4.6 percent, according to department figures. The non-seasonally adjusted rate was up from 5.6 to 6.1 percent.

The seasonally adjusted figure showed 100 fewer people working at 7,100 with the number of jobless holding steady at 300. Manufacturing added 100 jobs during the month, increasing to 1,900, the report stated.

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