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.