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Franklin Co. jobless streak hits 17 months

November 01, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Fewer people were on the job in September as students returned to classrooms, but the unemployment rate fell in Franklin County, allowing it to hold on to Pennsylvania's lowest jobless rate for the 17th month in a row.

The nonseasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for the county fell from 3.3 percent in August to 2.9 percent in September, according to preliminary figures released today by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. Neighboring Adams and Cumberland counties were among four tied for second, the report stated.

The report showed 76,100 people working, down 1,300 from August, with the labor force falling 1,600 to 78,400. The number of people listed as unemployed decreased by 400 to 2,300.

"Education is what's really going on in September," Industry and Business Analyst Ryan Horner said. Local government employment rose by 1,000 to 5,000 as nonfaculty school employees returned to work, but an even larger number of college students and older high school students were leaving the labor market and returning to classes.

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That was reflected in a drop of 300 people to 4,300 in the leisure and hospitality category, which employs significant student labor, he said. Construction saw a drop of 100 jobs to 3,100, a combination of a cooling housing market and students going back to school, Horner said.

Bucking a statewide trend, manufacturing jobs were up 100 to 10,700, the report stated. The number of people employed in manufacturing has risen this year, but has fallen steadily over the past 15 years, according to department figures.

In September 1991, 32.3 percent of people working in Franklin County were employed in manufacturing or goods-producing jobs, a figure that fell to 26 percent in 2001 and was at 24 percent in September of this year. During the same span, manufacturing jobs in Pennsylvania fell from 22.6 percent in 1991 to 16.6 percent in September.

In Fulton County, the jobless rate fell from 4.1 percent in August to 3.8 percent in September, the report stated. The number of people employed was down 200 to 8,100 and the number without jobs was down by 100 to 300.

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