CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Franklin County, Pa., dropped 0.2 percent in January to 6.5 percent, according to the latest data from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.
The rate in neighboring Fulton County, Pa., held steady at 8.9 percent, a dramatic decrease from its high points during the recession. Fulton County reached 16 percent unemployment in February 2009.
Labor department data indicates Franklin County gained 100 nonagricultural jobs in January, reaching 57,100 nonfarm jobs in the civilian work force. The gain occurred despite lost construction jobs and seasonal layoffs at retailers.
Whitetail Resort being open for snow sports led to a gain of 700 jobs in the leisure and hospitality sector, the largest January increase on record for that category, the labor department said.
Civilian manufacturing remained at 8,400 positions, which is 600 higher than a year ago, according to the report.
“I think it’s reflective of the things we’re seeing. Production at Grove, JLG, Frick and Volvo has been up in the first quarter compared to last year,” said L. Michael Ross, president of the Franklin County Area Development Corp.
Increased production at large manufacturers benefits their suppliers, Ross said.
“It’s an ecosystem. If you don’t have the big guys, the little guys don’t do as well,” he said.
Ross said he is optimistic for manufacturing in 2012, but is cautiously watching energy prices.
Franklin County’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped a full percentage point over the year.
At 7.6 percent, Pennsylvania’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was down 0.1 percent in January. The national rate dropped 0.2 percent to 8.3 percent.
Franklin County’s unemployment rate tied with Allegheny and Elk counties for the 12th-lowest rate in the state. Fulton County ranked 57th among the 67 counties.