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Unemployment rates drop in Franklin, Fulton

June 02, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The unemployment situation improved in both Franklin and Fulton counties in April, according to new data from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

Franklin County's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 8 percent, compared to 8.4 percent in March. Despite the gains, 8 percent is more than double the April 2008 rate.

"We're down four-tenths of a percentage point, but look at where we were from last year," said Ryan Horner, an analyst with the labor department.

In Fulton County, April's unemployment rate was 13.1 percent. That compares to 15.8 percent in March, 16 percent in February and 6.4 percent in April 2008.

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Franklin County actually lost several hundred jobs in April, but the number of people comprising its work force decreased by 900. Horner said that decrease could be a combination of people moving, retirements, lifestyle changes, and unemployed people getting discouraged and deciding to no longer seek work.

Franklin County lost 300 manufacturing and 400 leisure and hospitality jobs in April. Total non-farm jobs are down 1,400 since last year at this time.

Franklin County tied with Northampton County (in the Lehigh Valley) for the 25th-lowest unemployment rate in April among Pennsylvania's 67 counties. Fulton County was ranked 65th.

Pennsylvania's unemployment rate was 7.8 percent in April, while the nationwide rate increased to 8.9 percent.

Horner said increases in the national average prompt him to believe that Franklin County's unemployment rate has not yet peaked.

JLG recently announced another 210 people face layoffs at the McConnellsburg, Pa., plant in June. Horner said the earliest those layoffs would be reflected in Fulton County's unemployment data would be July, depending on the employees' last pay period.

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