Franklin Co. jobless rate ranks fourth

March 14, 2007|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Franklin County slipped from first to fourth in the latest unemployment report from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, although just behind three counties that were statistically tied for first.

The seasonally adjusted jobless rate increased from 3.2 percent in December to 3.5 percent in January. The nonseasonally adjusted figures, which do not account for seasonal fluctuations in employment, rose much more sharply, from 2.8 percent to 3.9 percent, according to the department's preliminary figures.

"I see no cause for concern," Industry and Business Analyst Ryan Horner said of the jobless numbers. The survey of businesses showed normal seasonal changes, he said.

Retail employment fell by 300 to 6,600 as the holiday shopping period ended. Retail jobs were up 300 over January 2006, the report stated.


The retail employment picture likely will rebound, Horner said, because of the opening of several major retailers at Chambersburg Crossing - including Target and PetSmart, which opened last weekend.

Construction jobs fell by 200 to 2,800, and manufacturing was down 100 to 10,800. The manufacturing sector, however, still was up 300 jobs from January 2006, a 2.9 percent increase that Horner said bucks the statewide trend of manufacturing job losses.

Two of the counties tied for first at 3.3 percent unemployment are neighboring Adams and Cumberland counties, another signal of regional economic strength, Horner said.

The seasonally adjusted figures showed 77,300 people working out of a labor force of 80,100. The number of people working was down 300 from December and the number of unemployed grew by 200 to 2,800 in January.

Fulton County also saw an increase in unemployment from 4.2 percent in December to 5.4 percent in January, according to the nonseasonally adjusted figures. The number of people listed as unemployed rose by 100 to 500 as service-sector employment fell after the holidays. The number of people working decreased by 200 to 8,000.

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