The Lehigh Valley’s unemployment rate dipped below 8 percent in May for the first time in more than four years, another indication that the labor market continues to slowly recover from steep job losses inflicted during the Great Recession.
The Valley region’s unemployment rate in May was 7.9 percent, down from 8.1 percent in April. It was last below 8 percent in February 2009. The Valley’s unemployment rate remains higher than the state, 7.5 percent, and nation, 7.6 percent.
Today’s alarming financial news is the rise in first-time unemployment claims to 385,000, up 28,000 and also above expectations. The U.S. Labor Department report shows the labor market is weakening, not that it was anything resembling strong in the first place. It makes me want to cry, because every piece of news like this makes me even more distraught about the future of the 4.8 million long-term unemployed.
I’ve covered unemployment issues or more than a decade and the future for those who are out of work beyond the normal six months funded by state benefits is very bleak. These aren’t lazy bums, but desperate people who are financially and emotionally devastated by their situation.
The number of Pennsylvania‘s unemployed decreased by 16,000 in November, the largest decline since 1983 and the second largest decline on record.
The unemployment rate was 7.8 percent in November, down three-tenths of a percentage point from the October rate of 8.1 percent, according to a press release from the state Department of Labor and Industry.
This was the lowest rate for Pennsylvania since June.
The rate hit 9.3 percent, up sixth-tenths of a percentage point from May. It was the region’s highest jobless rate since September, when it was 9.7 percent.
“It’s negative, there’s no question, but it’s not as bad as it sounds,” said Anthony Liuzzo, Ph.D., a business and economics professor at Wilkes University. “It takes the wind out of our sails a little bit when we see numbers like this.”
The region’s unemployment rate remained Pennsylvania’s highest for the 27th consecutive month.
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
February unemployment rates fell in both Reading and Berks County. Reading’s rate fell 0.8 percentage points from a revised 11.7 percent in January, and Berks County’s rate fell 0.3 percentage points from a revised 7.8 percent in January, according to statistics provided today by the state Department of Labor and Industry.
The seasonally adjusted county rate decreased 0.7 percentage points from February 2011.
In the city, the unemployment rate was down from 12 percent a year earlier, or 1.1 percentage points. That rate is not seasonally adjusted.
The decreases to jobless rates are significant for both the county and the city, said Steven Zellers, department industry and business analyst
Pennsylvania‘s unemployment rate has fallen from 8.1 percent in October to 7.9 percent in November. The U.S. average is 8.6 percent. Pennsylvania has been below the U.S. unemployment rate for 43 consecutive months!
Good news on the unemployment front in Pennsylvania. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that our state’s jobless rate declined to 7.4% in May. While this is a very modest change from 7.5% in April, Pennsylvania is still heading in the right direction! We can’t say that about other states!
The number of folks filing new unemployment claims increased by 43,000 in the U.S. during April 2011. Unemployment claims reached 474,000! It was expected that the number of claims would decrease to around 400,000 for April.
Some better economic news for the City of Reading and Berks County was released for February 2011. The jobless rate in Berks County fell to 8.1 percent and the City of Reading’s jobless rate dropped to 12.5 percent. Berks County saw a third straight month of decline in the unemployment rate. State and local government hiring helped lower the jobless rate. Schuylkill County (Pottsville) saw a decline in their jobless rate to 9.1 percent.
Major labor markets with higher unemployment than Reading/Berks were Johnstown (8.4 percent), Philadelphia (8.5 percent), Lehigh Valley (8.7 percent) and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (9.0 percent)
The State College metro area had the lowest jobless rate at 5.3 percent. Other metro areas with low jobless rates were Lebanon (6.3 percent), Lancaster (6.8 percent), Pittsburgh (7.0 percent), Harrisburg (7.1 percent) and York (7.6 percent).
Reading and Johnstown tied for the third-highest jobless rate for PA cities (12.5 percent). Allentown was second with 12.7 percent and Hazleton took top honors with 14.9 percent.
Bradford County had the lowest county jobless rate with 5.1 percent. This is due to the Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling in Bradford County.
Pennsylvania’s jobless rate was 8.0 percent and the U.S. rate was 8.9 percent for February 2011.
The Pennsylvania jobless rate for November dropped to 8.6% while the nationally the unemployment rate rose to 9.8%. November marked the fourth straight month unemployment in Pennsylvania has decreased.
This is great news! The jobless rate in Pennsylvania has fallen for the second consecutive month and is now 9%. 7,000 new jobs were added in September. The national jobless rate stands at 9.6% so Pennsylvania is below the national average.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania had 592,000 people unemployed in the month of July. 7000, mostly “census jobs”, were lost which contributed to the decline. The unemployment rate in Pennsylvania was 9.3% for July 2010, which is a full point higher than July 2009. Yes, things are just getting better all the time. The national unemployement rate is 9.5%.