A tide of good news rode in Pennsylvania, with the laid-off rate dipping in 55 to 67 countries in December. Unluckily, Erie County missed that wave. The seasonally adjusted unemployment in Erie County held stable at 7.8 percent in December, whereas in neighboring Crawford, the jobless rate dropped two tenths of a percentage point to 7.5 percent. An assessment between December 2010 and December 2011 illustrates that the laid-off rate improved by 1.1 percentage points. Actually that places Erie County in a three-way tie along with Reading and Williamsport for most improved among the state’s 14 metropolitan statistical areas. However that step up does not put Erie County at anyplace near the head of the class. Among the state’s metro areas, State College recorded the lowest unemployment rate of just 5.1 percent, while Cameron County has the highest at 11.5 percent. Overall the Pennsylvania unemployment claims rate remains high among neighboring states.
In a total of 3000, the numbers of the laid-offs in Crawford County dropped by 500 people. The County saw much improvement over the past 12 months with the jobless rate dropping from 9.0 percent to 7.5 percent.
Jim Kurre, professor of economics at Penn State Behrend and director of the Economic Research Institute of Erie said that Erie County’s unemployment rate, which was in the past higher than the national average has presently been lower than the national rate for each of the past 21 months. That’s a good news. Other positive signs involve a reduction in the number of citizens counted as unemployed. The number has declined over the past year from 11,900 to 10,400 in Erie County.
Erie County saw substantial gains in manufacturing employment as it added 300 jobs in April and 1300 over the past year. Figures show that the manufacturing employment has stabilized in Erie and Crawford countries over the past year. In Erie County, manufacturers lost 100 jobs in December but employment is has gone up 500 from a year ago while in Crawford County, manufacturing employment held stagnant at 6800, unchanged from a year earlier. GE Transportation, Erie County’s major employer, accounts for about 1000 of the new jobs added over the past year.
While the number of construction jobs has reduced in Erie County, employment in the hospitality and leisure sector declined less than usual. In total 600 jobs were added in this sector which accounted for 13,100 jobs in April. The number of people functioning in that sector in December was 12,800, down from 13,000 in October. Crawford County added 300 jobs for a total of 2,800.
A broad employment sector that involves mining and lodging added nearly 400 jobs in April for a total of 3,800. According to Jim Kurre, the numbers are not encouraging as if we look at the raw numbers, we observe an addition of 1200 new jobs but that’s only good for those 1200 people. As per him, this 1,200 is not quite as much of an increase as the sector usually adds almost 1,500 jobs.
Seasonally unemployment rate remains above the long-term unemployment rate of 6.3 percent for Erie County and is 5.9 percent for United States. This fact illustrates that the positive news is balanced.
Like the weather, jobs numbers can change considerably. This is the reason, much of a drop-off have not been seen as in the past because of milder winter.