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Franklin County jobless rate continues to be among Pa.'s lowest

May 01, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- The unemployment rate for Franklin County is up from a year ago, but about 2,000 jobs were created during that period, according to preliminary figures released Tuesday by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

The jobless rate in March was 4.1 percent, down from 4.4 percent in February, the report stated. The unemployment rate in March 2007 was 3.6 percent.

During that year, however, the number of nonfarm jobs increased by 1,900 to 60,200, an increase of 3.3 percent, according to the report. That was tied for the fifth-highest growth rate among Pennsylvania's 50 statistical areas.

Most of the area's ranked ahead of the Chambersburg Micropolitan Statistical Area were much smaller markets, Industry and Business Analyst Ryan Horner said. For example, a gain of 200 jobs in Forest County resulted in a 9.5 percent rate of job growth, the highest in the state, he said.

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"It's still outpacing the state as a whole, which should come as no surprise," Horner said. Pennsylvania's job growth barely budged at 0.2 percent, he said.

"Three-point-three percent is still strong over-the-year growth," Horner said. Larger metropolitan statistical areas, such as York and Lancaster, did not achieve growth of 1 percent during the past year, while neighboring Adams County's job growth was 0.3 percent, he said.

The unemployment rate for the month also was good enough for third in the state, behind Chester and Lebanon counties, the report stated.

For the month of March, few job categories showed much movement. As weather warmed, the number of construction jobs rose by about 100 to 2,900. Leisure and hospitality jobs decreased by 200 to 5,300, in large measure due to the ski season at Whitetail Resort winding down, Horner said.

Leisure and hospitality jobs were still up 300 from March 2007, a 6 percent increase, the report stated.

The number of people working in education and health services rose 100 to 8,700, up 3.6 percent from a year ago, according to the report.

Overall, the report showed total employment of 78,000, down 300 from February, while the number of people without jobs also decreased by 300 to 3,300.

Fulton County also saw its jobless rate fall from 8.2 percent in February to 6.8 percent in March as the number of people listed as unemployed fell by 100 to 600. The number employed remained unchanged at 7,500, according to the report.

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