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Franklin Co. jobless rate is lowest in Pa.

August 02, 2005|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Construction was up in June, but service-sector employment was down as the unemployment rate in Franklin County, Pa., increased from 3.3 percent to 3.6 percent, according to preliminary figures released Monday by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

Despite the increase, the county moved from second to first place for the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania, according to department figures. Adams, Lancaster, Lebanon and Cumberland counties, all in South Central Pennsylvania, rounded out the top five, the report stated.

Approximately 100 jobs were added in construction for a total of 2,900 as "job levels continue to rise because of summer building projects," according to the report.

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Through the first six months of the year, 1,417 building permits of all types had been issued in the county's 22 municipalities, including new construction, additions and renovations on residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural projects, according to the County Tax Assessment Office.

That is down from the first six months of 2005, when almost 2,900 permits were issued, but that number was inflated by a rush to file building permits before the state's uniform construction code went into effect July 1, 2004. In June 2004 alone, 1,158 permits were issued, compared with 297 in June of this year, according to tax office records.

County Assessor Gary Martin noted that not all municipalities have submitted complete permit records for the first half of the year, although reports are supposed to be submitted monthly.

The number of people working fell by 400 to 73,200 and the number listed as jobless was up 200 to 2,700, according to the state's nonseasonally adjusted numbers. The 3.6 percent rate is still below the 4.1 percent jobless rate for June 2004.

Manufacturing jobs were steady at 9,700, according to the report. Service-sector jobs were down by 400 to 41,000, with local government falling by 300 to 4,900 due largely to the end of school. Health and education services fell by 100 to 7,900 jobs, while leisure and hospitality added 100 jobs for a total of 4,300 jobs.

Fulton County's unemployment rate increased from 4 percent to 4.2 percent, although the number of people employed remained at 7,000 and the number of jobless was unchanged at 300, according to state figures.

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