Re­gion’s job­less rate drops to 5.2 per­cent

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - BUSINESS - BY DENISE ALLABAUGH STAFF WRITER Con­tact the writer: dal­labaugh@cit­i­zensvoice.com; 570-821-2115; @CVAl­labaugh

The un­em­ploy­ment rate in the Scran­ton/ WilkesBarre/Ha­zle­ton metropoli­tan sta­tis­ti­cal area con­tin­ues to drop.

The sea­son­ally ad­justed un­em­ploy­ment rate fell twotenths of a per­cent­age point to 5.2 per­cent in Oc­to­ber, ac­cord­ing to num­bers re­leased Wed­nes­day by the Penn­syl­va­nia De­part­ment of La­bor & In­dus­try.

Teri Ooms, di­rec­tor of the In­sti­tute for Pub­lic Pol­icy and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment, said the econ­omy has been im­prov­ing over the last year.

In re­cent months, the num­ber of unem­ployed peo­ple has dropped and the num­ber of peo­ple in the la­bor force has in­creased, she said.

“We’ve been see­ing good things now for about 12 to 15 months,” Ooms said.

The state and na­tional un­em­ploy­ment rates both de­clined by one-tenth of a per­cent­age point to 4.7 and 4.1 per­cent.

Over the year, the Scran­ton/Wilkes-Barre/Ha­zle­ton area’s rate fell 1 full per­cent­age point while the state rate de­clined by eight-tenths of a point and the U.S. rate de­creased by seven-tenths of a point.

The area’ sun em­ploy­ment rate was the 14th low­est among Penn­syl­va­nia’s 18 metropoli­tan sta­tis­ti­cal ar­eas in Oc­to­ber.

Over the year, jobs in the area were up 0.8 per­cent, 2,200, while over­all jobs in the state were up 1.1 per­cent.

The sea­son­ally ad­justed to­tal num­ber of nonf ar m jobs at goods, con­struc­tions and man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pa­nies in the area de­clined 300 to 263,100 in Oc­to­ber.

Both pub­lic and pri­vate ed­u­ca­tional ser­vices were up over the month as lo­cal schools, col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties con­tin­ued staffing for the new school year.

Leisure and hos­pi­tal­ity de­clined as recre­ational ac­tiv­i­ties and tourism waned.

Pro­fes­sional and busi­ness ser­vices had the largest de­cline over the year, down 500 jobs.

Trade, trans­porta­tion and util­i­ties as well as ed­u­ca­tion and health ser­vices ex­pe­ri­enced strong growth since Oc­to­ber 2016, up by 1,300 jobs and 1,100 jobs.

With the in­crease in on­line shop­ping, huge ware­house shave opened through­out North­east Penn­syl­va­nia in re­cent years, cre­at­ing thou­sands of jobs.

Jobs in ware­hous­ing, lo­gis­tics and trans­porta­tion will con­tinue to drive eco­nomic growth, Ooms said.

Be­cause so many com­pa­nies have been open­ing ware­houses, they are com­pet­ing for work­ers and are un­der pres­sure to in­crease wages and of­fer good ben­e­fit pack­ages which is a “win-win for the re­gion ,” she said.

“We’ve been see­ing good things now for about 12 to 15 months.” Teri Ooms Di­rec­tor of In­sti­tute for Pub­lic Pol­icy and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment

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