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Franklin jobless rate at 6-year high

December 31, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The unemployment rate in Franklin County for November reached its highest level in nearly six years with the manufacturing - and to a lesser extent - the retail sectors showing the effects of the national recession, according to preliminary figures released today by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

The jobless rate increased from 4.7 percent in October to 5.1 percent in November, the highest since March 2003, said Ryan Horner, an industry and business analyst with the department. The last time the rate was higher was the 5.2 percent level reached in January 2003, he said.

In the last recession, the unemployment rate peaked at 5.6 percent in January 2002, Horner said. The county unemployment rate in November 2007 was 3.1 percent, according to the report.

Manufacturing jobs fell by 200 to 10,400 in November, the report stated. That was 100 below the level of November 2007.

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"Compared to other areas, manufacturing jobs are still pretty strong" in Franklin County, Horner said. Statewide, manufacturing jobs fell 3.8 percent for the year, a loss of 25,000 jobs, he said.

Construction employment was down by 100 to 2,900 in November, according to the report. The survey of businesses, however, showed that the level was down by 200 from November 2007.

As businesses were gearing up for the holiday season, retailers added 100 jobs in November for a total of 7,500. Over the past five years, however, the average increase in retail employment from October to November has been 200, Horner said.

Employment in the county fell by 600 to 79,100, the report stated, while the number of people listed as unemployed was up by 300 to 4,200. In the past year, however, the number of people working increased by 1,100, according to the department's household survey.

Fulton County's jobless rate showed some improvement from October. The revised October figure fell from 10.2 percent to 9.9 percent and the preliminary November figure declined to 9.5 percent.

Fulton County lost its claim to the highest jobless rate in the state to Cameron County. Chester and Lebanon counties were tied for the lowest at 4.8 percent, the report stated.

Manufacturing jobs held steady at 1,600, but JLG Industries announced several weeks ago that January would bring another reduction in jobs at the McConnellsburg, Pa., plant.

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