Unemployment In Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Metro Area Down, Lowest Since October 2008

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The unemployment rate in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area edged down by one-tenth of 1 percent in July to 6.8 percent, the lowest since October 2008, according to figures released today by the state Department of Labor & Industry.

A year earlier, the rate was 9 percent.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/news/50204988/Unemployment-in-the-region-down-lowest-since-October-2008#.U_z2hvRDsxI

National Tube Works Shuttered In McKeesport

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At the last vestige of the old National Tube Works in McKeesport, 117 years of pipemaking came to a quiet end on Friday.

U.S. Steel‘s McKeesport Tubular Operations, an electric resistance weld plant producing standard line pipe, will be “idled indefinitely,” company officials said.

In small groups throughout the day, employees filed out, carrying literal pink slips marking the end of U.S. Steel’s operation there.

Several approached for comment waved off a reporter.

Read more: http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/yourmckeesport/yourmckeesportmore/6624696-74/steel-tubular-mckeesport#ixzz3AZKI3p22
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Study: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Area Is Tops … At Being Unhappy

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SCRANTON, PA — Feeling a little down in the dumps?

Chances are you are not alone, according to a new study.

According to the analysis, co-authored by Joshua Gottlieb of the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver School of Economics, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton region is the least happiest place in the United States.

Local psychologist Robert Griffin says there no need for a region-wide prescription for anti-depressants.

Read more:  http://timesleader.com/news/home_top-local-news/50014789/Study:-Area-is-tops–at-being-unhappy

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Last In Beating Recession

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the race to climb out of recession, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metropolitan area is dead last among the 100 largest urban areas nationwide.

That is the finding in a recent “Metro Monitor” study by The Brookings Institution that tracked the economic performance of 100 metropolitan areas on four indicators: jobs, unemployment, output (gross product) and house prices. The analysis focused on the change of the indicators during three time periods: the recession, recovery and a combination of both.

During the recovery period, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre ranked 100, or last, trailing Little Rock, Ark., (99) and Greater Hartford, Conn. (98).

“In terms of recovery, it has been pretty slow” for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, said Siddharth Kulkarni, a research assistant in Brooking’s Metropolitan Policy Program.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/scranton-w-b-last-in-beating-recession-1.1667766

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Philadelphia’s Future In The Numbers

English: View of Philadelphia City Hall from t...

English: View of Philadelphia City Hall from the corner of Broad and Walnut Streets. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Of all the numbers that tell the story of Philadelphia today, one stands out as an unambiguous expression of confidence in the city’s future.

Last year, developers received building permits for 2,815 units of new residential housing, the most approved in a decade. Those units are worth an estimated $465 million, the highest annual amount on record.

Investors appear to be betting that Philadelphia’s population, which rose for the seventh straight year in 2013 to 1,553,165, will keep growing and that many of the new residents, young and old, will be looking for new homes and apartments.

There is some demographic evidence to support this expectation. In recent years, the city has experienced rapid growth in its population of young adults, many of them well-educated and upwardly mobile. In addition, an increasing number of aging baby boomers are leaving the suburbs and moving into the city. And the middle-class population appears to have stabilized after decades of decline.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20140406_Philadelphia_s_future.html#Ukhw32j52iwf8tzl.99

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Stability Spurs More Growth In Pittsburgh

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Slow and steady wins the race: It works for the tortoise, and it seems to be working for Pittsburgh.

The latest annual “Pittsburgh Today and Tomorrow” report by PittsburghTODAY found that Pittsburgh continues to make modest economic progress after years of decline.

PittsburghTODAY is a nonprofit part of the University of Pittsburgh’s University Center for Social & Urban Research that tracks the region’s progress compared with 15 other areas of similar size, geographic and demographic makeups.

Doug Hueck, program director for PittsburghTODAY, highlighted data regarding population growth, unemployment levels and housing appreciation rates as examples of the city’s revival.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2014/02/22/Stability-spurs-more-growth-here/stories/201402220041#ixzz2u57osImH

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Economic Slowdown Widespread

INDICATOR: January Industrial Production and Import/Export Prices

KEY DATA: IP: -0.3%; Manufacturing: -0.8%/Imports: +0.1%; Nonfuel: +0.3%; Exports: +0.2%; Farm: -0.5%

IN A NUTSHELL: “The current economic slowdown, that hopefully can be blamed on the weather, is widespread.”

WHAT IT MEANS: January can be a cruel month and this year it is especially so. Job gains were mediocre, unemployment claims are above where we would like to see them, retail sales were pathetic and not surprisingly, manufacturers reacted by cutting back production sharply. Industrial production was off moderately in January but only because utilities had to produce massive amounts to heat our homes, offices and plants. Manufacturing output tanked as fifteen of the nineteen industry groups posted declines.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/economics_in_a_nutshell/Economic-slowdown-widespread.html#BofjoT0tjMWvuhFk.99

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Obama Makes West Philly A ‘Promise’

English: Map of Philadelphia County highlighti...

English: Map of Philadelphia County highlighting West Philadelphia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

TODAY, a day after the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty,” President Obama will announce that a section of West Philadelphia has been selected as one of the first five federal “Promise Zones,” a new program aimed at turning around some of the country’s poorest neighborhoods.

Mayor Nutter will join Obama in the White House to announce the program, which gives the selected areas preferential treatment when applying for federal grants to boost early education, reduce crime and spur economic growth.

The Philadelphia “Promise Zone,” which encompasses Mantua and surrounding areas, has about 35,000 residents, 51 percent of whom live in poverty and 13.6 percent of whom are unemployed.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/city/20140109_Obama_makes_West_Philly_a__Promise_.html#0ji38k5HFpegZEbF.99

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Pittsburgh Suburbs Suffering Poverty At High Rate

Locator map of the Greater Pittsburgh metro ar...

Locator map of the Greater Pittsburgh metro area in the western part of the of . Red denotes the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area, and yellow denotes the New Castle Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Pittsburgh-New Castle CSA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Poverty is growing at a faster rate in the suburbs than in the cities, and the Pittsburgh area is ahead of the curve — but not in a good way.

Nationally, about 55 percent of the population living in poverty is outside of cities, but in Allegheny County, 61 percent of people living in poverty are in the suburbs, and the number rises to 79 percent when the Pittsburgh metropolitan statistical area is measured. That area includes Allegheny and its six surrounding counties.

Those numbers come from Elizabeth Kneebone, a fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., and co-author of “Confronting Suburban Poverty in America.”

Ms. Kneebone said suburban poverty has been growing since 2000 and became more significant than urban poverty even before the economic meltdown of 2008 and 2009. The recession exacerbated it.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/region/2013/11/18/Suburbs-suffering-at-high-rate/stories/201311180136#ixzz2l1MynVBs

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Metro Area Food Stamp Use Up 75 Percent In 5 Years

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Food stamp distribution in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metro area exploded by 75 percent between 2007 and 2012.

The number of households receiving federal assistance under the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program ballooned to 35,256 in 2012 from 20,195 in 2007, Census Bureau data reveal.

SNAP stamp benefits in 2012 went to 14 percent of the residences in Lackawanna County, 17 percent in Luzerne County and 20 percent in Wyoming County. More than 90,300 people in the metro area participate in the food-stamp program, according to federal data cited by U.S. Sen. Bob Casey’s office.

“Those numbers are staggering,” said Teri Ooms, director of the Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development, a regional research and analysis organization. “This is the eroding of the middle class.”

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/food-stamp-use-up-75-percent-in-5-years-1.1583475

U.S. Added Surprisingly Strong 204,000 Jobs In October

The U.S. added a surprising 204,000 jobs in October, meaning private-employer hiring much more than offset the effect on jobs from the 16-day government shutdown.

“Maybe the government should be shut down more often,” said Kenneth Mayland, economist at Clearview Economics, Pepper Pike, Ohio.

The Labor Department on Friday also revised September and August job gains by a combined 60,000.

The unemployment rate rose to 7.3 percent last month from 7.2 percent in September, said the agency.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/5031098-74/jobs-added-government#ixzz2k4vUYkAe 
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CRIZ Program Could Bring Biz To Wilkes-Barre

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE — The state has a new economic development tool with the city’s name on it.

In truth, the City Revitalization and Improvement Zone program applies to seven other third-class cities and Delaware County, the applicant for the city of Chester. The program is included in a tax-reform package signed into law last July by Gov. Tom Corbett.

The program allows the eligible cities to use tax money generated in designated zones to pay down the debt taken on for job creation and economic-development projects.

Drew McLaughlin, Wilkes-Barre’s municipal affairs manager, said the city has been researching the CRIZ program for a while.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news/953436/CRIZ-program-could-bring-biz-to-Wilkes-Barre

Fast-Food Workers’ Low Pay Costs The Government

Ben and Sharneka Hunter are a fast-food family.

The Wilmington husband and wife work at Burger Kings in different cities – Ben, 43, in Wilmington, Sharneka, 30, in New Castle.

Both earn hourly minimum-wage salaries of $7.25. And both need food stamps and Medicaid to augment their combined $17,000 yearly salary – $2,500 under the federal poverty line – so that they and their 9-year-old daughter can survive.

“I don’t think it’s fair to be underpaid,” Ben said.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/homepage/20131020_Fast-food_workers__low_pay_costs_the_government.html#oAbI1DavEof2fDXe.99

First Nonprofit Supermarket Opens In Chester

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Delaware County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Delaware County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CHESTER, PA. — In Chester, a city where hard times often plow under shiny promises, a hunger-relief agency’s pledge to build America’s first nonprofit supermarket was greeted skeptically at first.

But Philabundance may be confounding local doubters. Its Fare & Square grocery store, seven years in the making, is ready to open its doors this morning, a rare oasis in what has been called a food desert.

“No one believed this was coming,” said Denina Hood, a Chester native and an employee of the store that will become the first supermarket in town since 2001. “But this store isn’t going anywhere.”

Usually in the business of distributing donated food to pantries in the Delaware Valley, Philabundance, a nonprofit, has augmented its mission and become a store owner, charging prices 8 percent to 10 percent lower than small urban grocers.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/first-nonprofit-supermarket-opens-in-struggling-pa-city-705230/#ixzz2gCesc07x

Walgreens To Close Lehigh Valley Distribution Center, Lay Off 400

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Walgreens will close its distribution center in Hanover Township, Northampton County, marking one of the largest layoffs in the Lehigh Valley in recent years.

The facility’s 400 employees will be laid off in phases, beginning in mid-January and concluding in March. Employees at the center, at 125 Commerce Way in Lehigh Valley Industrial Park IV, were informed of the decision Thursday.

“Our Lehigh Valley Distribution Center has served the company since 1991, making the decision to close it a difficult one,” Emily Hartwig of Walgreens corporate media relations said Friday.

Hartwig said the layoffs are part of the drugstore chain’s effort to maximize efficiencies at its distribution centers across the region.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-walgreens-to-close-bethlehem-distribution-cente-20130927,0,1515055.story#ixzz2gCXpUaeT
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Unemployment In Pittsburgh Region Falls To Lowest In Post-Recession Recovery

Locator map of the Greater Pittsburgh metro ar...

Locator map of the Greater Pittsburgh metro area in the western part of the of . Red denotes the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area, and yellow denotes the New Castle Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Pittsburgh-New Castle CSA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Unemployment in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area fell to 6.8 percent in June, a rate one-tenth of a percentage point below May’s 6.9 percent but that marks a new low of the post-recession recovery.

The last time unemployment was at 6.8 percent in the region was in March 2009, when unemployment was rising in the midst of the Great Recession.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/unemployment-in-pittsburgh-region-falls-to-lowest-in-post-recession-recovery-697432/#ixzz2aYC55kY0

Signs Of Declining Economic Security Widespread

President Barack Obama announces the Economic ...

President Barack Obama announces the Economic Recovery Advisory Board. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON — Four out of five U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.

Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor and loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend.

The findings come as President Barack Obama tries to renew his administration’s emphasis on the economy, saying in recent speeches that his highest priority is to “rebuild ladders of opportunity” and reverse income inequality.

Hardship is particularly on the rise among whites, based on several measures.  Pessimism among that racial group about their families’ economic futures has climbed to the highest point since at least 1987.  In the most recent AP-GfK poll, 63 percent of whites called the economy “poor.”

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/news/710055/Signs-of-declining-economic-security-widespread

U.S. Economy Creates 195K Jobs In June

U.S. employers stepped up hiring in June, adding 195,000 jobs, above the median forecast in a Reuters poll, Labor Department data showed on Friday.

The unemployment rate held steady at 7.6 percent.

Economists were expecting 165,000 new jobs last month, according to a Reuters survey, slightly below the 175,000 positions created in May.  The government on Friday revised payrolls for April and May to show 70,000 more jobs created than previously reported.

The increase could draw the Federal Reserve closer to implementing a plan to start scaling back its massive monetary stimulus later this year.

Read more: http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/chi-june-jobs-report-20130705,0,1426956.story#ixzz2YCIf6SLc
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Lehigh Valley Unemployment Rate Lowest In More Than 4 Years

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.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/business/mc-lehigh-valley-jobs-may-20130702,0,2579010.story#ixzz2XusnKSrE 
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Pennsylvania Economy Added More Jobs In May Than In Any Month Since 1983

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate fell slightly to 7.5 percent in May, the state announced this afternoon.

The state’s economy added 24,000 new jobs compared to April — the highest one-month gain since 1983.  The number of people filing for unemployment claims also fell in May by 9,000 to 488,000.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/pennsylvania-economy-added-more-jobs-in-may-than-in-any-month-since-1983-692575/#ixzz2WxdKpdHe