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Jobless rate in Franklin County continues to be state's lowest

May 02, 2005|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The jobless rate in Franklin County was unchanged in March at 4.2 percent, according to preliminary figures released last week by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

The number of people working increased by 500 to 71,600, while the number of people listed as unemployed remained steady at 3,100, the report stated. The increased employment number was offset by an increase of 500 people in the labor force to 74,700.

Franklin County's seasonally-adjusted jobless rate was 3.7 percent, up from 3.6 percent in February, the report stated. That remained the lowest among Pennsylvania's 67 counties as it had the previous two months, according to the department.

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Franklin County's non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was little changed from the 4.1 percent reported by the department for March 2004.

"The unemployment rate simply confirms what we've known anecdotally for a long time, that Franklin County and the Cumberland Valley regional economy are operating at full strength," said L. Michael Ross, president of the Franklin County Area Development Corp. "There are no indicators of a slowdown in the foreseeable future."

"The challenge that it presents right now is finding available and skilled workers," Ross said. While the region's population is growing, "there are more jobs being created than people moving in."

"No matter where you turn in the county, there's a new housing development being constructed" or in the planning stages, Ross said. "All the challenges are growth-related," but easier to manage than the problems of a stagnant or declining local economy, he said.

Preliminary figures from the department for Fulton County showed its non-seasonally adjusted jobless rate decreasing from 6.6 percent to 5.7 percent. The county's March 2004 unemployment rate was 5.9 percent, according to department figures.

The unemployment rate in Pennsylvania was 5.9 percent in March.

and the national rate 5.4 percent, according to the Department of Labor and Industry.

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