The tri-county area including Luzerne, Wyoming and Lackawanna ended 2013 just like it began, with the highest unemployment rate of the state’s 14 metropolitan statistical areas. December also marked the 45th month in a row the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton region held that distinction.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. economy grew at a 3.2 percent annual rate in the October-December quarter on the strength of the strongest consumer spending in three years, an encouraging sign for 2014.
The fourth-quarter increase followed a 4.1 percent growth rate in the July-September quarter, when the economy benefited from a buildup in business stockpiles.
For 2013 as a whole, the economy grew a tepid 1.9 percent, weaker than the 2.8 percent increase in 2012, the Commerce Department said Thursday. Growth was held back last year by higher taxes and federal spending cuts.
With that drag diminished, many economists think growth could top 3 percent in 2014. That would be the best performance since the recession ended in mid-2009.
Lancaster County‘s unemployment rate fell again in November, dipping to 5.9 percent from October’s 6.1 percent, the state reported Friday.
In declining for the third straight month, the local jobless rate sank to its lowest point since December 2008, when it was 5.6 percent.
The new rate means the county continues to slowly make progress toward its pre-recession level of unemployment.
“It’s taking a lot of time to settle down,” said Bill Sholly, an analyst with the state Department of Labor & Industry.
Berks County‘s unemployment rate decreased to 7.3 percent in November from 7.4 percent in October, the lowest unemployment rate since January 2009, when it was also 7.3 percent, the state Department of Labor and Industry reported Friday.
Berks’ unemployment rate was the eighth-lowest among the state’s 14 metropolitan statistical areas, or MSAs.
“For Berks, as an MSA, it did rather well compared to other MSAs,” said Steven Zellers, industry and business analyst at Labor and Industry.
Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate fell to 7.3 percent in November from October’s 7.5 percent, the Department of Labor and Industry reported this morning.
The rate, which is seasonally-adjusted, fell mostly because people who were unemployed quit looking for work rather than because they found new jobs.
WASHINGTON - A fourth straight month of solid hiring cut the U.S. unemployment rate in November to a five-year low of 7 percent. The surprisingly robust job gain suggested that the economy may have begun to accelerate.
It also fueled speculation that the Federal Reserve will scale back its economic stimulus when it meets later this month.
Employers added 203,000 jobs last month after adding 200,000 in October, the Labor Department said Friday. November’s job gain helped lower the unemployment rate from 7.3 percent in October.
The economy has now generated a four-month average of 204,000 jobs from August through November. That’s up from 159,000 a month from April through July.
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers have yet to start hiring aggressively — a trend the Federal Reserve will weigh in deciding this month whether to slow its bond buying and, if so, by how much.
Employers added 169,000 jobs in August but many fewer in June and July than previously thought, the Labor Department said Friday. Combined, June, July and August amounted to the weakest three-month stretch of job growth in a year.
The unemployment rate dropped to 7.3 percent, the lowest in nearly five years. But it fell because more Americans stopped looking for work and were no longer counted as unemployed. The proportion of Americans working or looking for work reached its lowest point in 35 years.
All told, the report adds up to a mixed picture of the U.S. job market: Hiring is steady but subpar. Much of the hiring is in lower-paying occupations. And many people are giving up on the job market in frustration.
WASHINGTON — U.S. employers added 165,000 jobs in April, and hiring was much stronger in the previous two months than the government first estimated. The job increases helped reduce the unemployment rate from 7.6 percent to a four-year low of 7.5 percent.
The report today from the Labor Department was a reassuring sign that the U.S. job market is improving despite higher taxes and government spending cuts that took effect this year.
The government revised up its estimate of job gains in February and March by a combined 114,000. It now says employers added 332,000 jobs in February and 138,000 in March. The economy has created an average of 208,000 jobs a month from November through April — above the 138,000 added in the previous six months.
The number of unemployed fell 83,000 to 11.7 million.
Lancaster County’s unemployment rate slipped to 6.8 percent in February, the state Department of Labor & Industry said Tuesday.
By declining slightly from January’s 6.9 percent, the county’s rate remained among the best in Pennsylvania.
Of the state’s 14 metropolitan areas, only State College (6.0 percent) and Lebanon (6.7 percent) had better unemployment rates.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre had the worst, at 9.8 percent.
HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania’s most sweeping economic development programs could see a limited spending cap and permanent guidelines under a recently passed proposal.
The state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (often called “R-Cap”) provides grants with borrowed money for private projects pursued by municipalities and local agencies.
That could include hospital expansions, parking garages or community centers — any project with a cultural, civic or historical connection that could create jobs and be tied to economic development.
But the program is often criticized as a questionable source of ballooning debt.
RACP’s debt ceiling is $4.05 billion, about 10 times what it was when it was created in 1986.
The jobless rate in Lancaster County fell in November to 6.6 percent, the state announced Thursday.
By declining from October’s 6.7 percent, the local jobless rate decreased for the first time since April.
“It’s a slow go,” said Bill Sholly, an analyst with the state Department of Labor & Industry.
Sholly explained that employers typically are cautious about rebuilding their work forces after a recession.
The Lehigh Valley‘s unemployment rate crept up in September as the labor force continued to grow at a faster pace than businesses are hiring.
A total of 394,200 Valley residents had jobs in September, up 200 from August, according to data released Wednesday by the state Department of Labor and Industry. But the labor force grew by 500 in the same period to hit 432,200. That imbalance between job seekers and opportunities pushed the unemployment rate to 8.8 percent in September, up from 8.7 percent in August.
Sluggish job growth has been a nagging strain on the Valley economy for several months. Businesses are consistently adding jobs — the number of Valley residents employed in September was up 9,400 from a year earlier. But the labor force continues to grow at a faster pace, and September’s unemployment rate is unchanged from a year earlier.
An increase in job-seekers and a decrease in jobs drove August’s residential unemployment rate in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metro area up two-tenths of a percentage point to 9.4 percent.
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.
The increase from April’s 6.1 percent was the first uptick in the local jobless rate since August.
Despite edging higher, the Lancaster County jobless rate remained among the best in Pennsylvania.
Lancaster County‘s unemployment rate receded again in March, the state said Monday.
The jobless rate slid to 6.0 percent from February’s 6.2 percent, the fifth consecutive monthly decline.
The new rate is the lowest in Lancaster County since January 2009, when the rate stood at 5.9 percent.
“We still might have the occasional blip here or there, but the rate is heading in the right direction,” said Bill Sholly, an analyst with the state Department of Labor & Industry.
The Lehigh Valley labor market continued to improve in February, with businesses adding jobs and residents finding work.
The Valley had 337,600 jobs in February, up 6,400 compared with the same month a year ago, according to data released Monday by the state Department of Labor and Industry. The unemployment rate dropped to 8.1 percent in February, down from 8.2 percent in January and the lowest it’s been since March 2009.
The job gains came through most of the private sector. Jobs added at hospitals, hotels, temporary staffing firms, warehouses and stores were partially offset by losses in manufacturing and government.
Harrisburg, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania’s employment picture continues to brighten, as the rate fell in January to 7.6 percent.
The economic recovery slowed down in June. Consumer spending fell by .02 percent, which can be blamed in part on rising gas and food prices. Workers saw incomes rise by only .01 percent, the smallest increase in nine months. On a positive note, personal savings rose 5.4 percent.
Hiring in June was at the lowest level in nine months. Only 18,000 net jobs were added and the unemployment rate rose to 9.2%.
Some economic forecasters are lowering their outlook for economic growth in the second half of the year from 2.5 percent to 2.0 percent.
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!