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Franklin County jobless rate up, but so is number of people working

July 02, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The unemployment rate was up in Franklin County during May, but so was the number of people working, with nonfarm jobs hitting an all-time record, according to preliminary figures released today by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

The jobless rate rose from 3.7 percent to 3.9 percent, while the number of people employed in nonfarm jobs increased by 400 to 60,700, according to the survey of county businesses. The previous record was 60,500 in December 2007.

"The Chambersburg area, based on these numbers, appears to be doing very well," said Peter Phelan, an industry and business analyst with the department. The jobless rate is up from 3.2 percent in May 2007, but the report shows the labor force - the number of people employed, unemployed and available for work - has grown by 2,900 in the past year to 82,400.

The household survey for May, which Phelan said measures a person's employment whether inside or outside the county, showed that 79,200 residents are working, 100 more than in April and 2,300 more than in May 2007. The number of people listed as unemployed went up by 200 to 3,200 from April to May and was 2,600 in May 2007.

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The leisure and hospitality sector was gearing up for the summer season in May, adding 200 jobs for a total of 5,100, according to the survey of employers. Education and health services set a record, adding 100 jobs for a total of 8,700, the report stated.

Trade, transportation and utilities added 100 jobs in the wholesale subcategory to reach 14,200. That sector has added 800 since May 2007.

No job categories registered a decrease in May, according to the report.

Job growth in the county has been 3.1 percent over the past year, compared to an anemic 0.1 percent for all of Pennsylvania. The numbers were good enough to tie Franklin County with Lebanon County for the second-lowest unemployment rate behind Chester County.

Fulton County's jobless rate was unchanged at 6.6 percent in May, The number of people working was unchanged at 7,600, as was the number of unemployed at 500.

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