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Franklin County reclaims state's lowest jobless rate

May 03, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - After slipping to second place in February, Franklin County reclaimed its position as the county with the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania, according to preliminary figures released today by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

The non-seasonally adjusted rate decreased slightly from 3.6 percent to 3.5 percent, the report stated. Job growth in the county was 0.5 percent, less than the statewide growth rate of 0.7 percent, but over five years the county has far out-performed the state as a whole when it comes to job creation.

During the past year, non-farm jobs grew 1.3 percent across Pennsylvania, but at a 3.1 percent annual clip in Franklin County. The disparity is far greater over five years, with Franklin County's rate at 17.9 percent compared to 0.4 percent in the state, according to department figures.

The county added 300 non-farm jobs, according to the March report, but the number grew by 1,700 over the previous year to 56,600. Transportation, warehousing and utilities added 100 jobs over the month to reach 4,200; financial services grew by 100 to 1,600; professional and business services grew by 100 to 4,300 jobs and educational and health services hit 8,400 with the addition of 100 new jobs, according to the survey of employers.

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Manufacturing was unchanged at 10,400 jobs and construction was steady at 2,700, the report stated. The only area of decline was in leisure and hospitality, which fell by approximately 100 to 4,500 jobs.

The number of people working, according to the department's household survey, fell by 700 to 74,600. The number of people listed as unemployed was down by 100 to 2,700.

In March 2005, there were 73,800 people working, 3,100 unemployed and the jobless rate was 4 percent.

The number of people listed as unemployed in Fulton County fell by 100 to 400, decreasing the jobless rate from 5.6 percent in February to 4.8 percent in March. The number of people working was also up by approximately 100 people to 7,900, the report stated.

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