Local unemployment rate holds steady

·2 min read

Jul. 28—The local unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.3% in June, but the labor force numbers improved slightly, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

There were 200 more people reported in the labor force in June after a drop of 3,200 in May.

Steven Zellers, a state industry and business analyst, said the figures are promising.

"A lot of people don't realize that even though the percentage doesn't change, the ratios do," he said. "Even though it's a small gain, it's good news that more people consider their prospects better and are out looking for jobs."

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Metropolitan Statistical Area, consisting of Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wyoming counties, added 200 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs in June.

"The gain is significant in the fact that there were some seasonal drops to be expected," Zellers said.

For instance, private education services were down 1,400 over the month.

"Despite that large drop, which was expected because of the schools closing, the gains still outweigh the drops," Zellers said.

The statewide unemployment rate declined one-tenth of a percentage point to 6.9%. The national rate rose one-tenth of a percentage point to 5.9%.

Zellers noted 65% of jobs lost since April 2020 have been recovered throughout the state and the local region has recovered 63.4% of jobs.

"We're still in flux because we're still recovering from the COVID losses, but the good news is we're recovering," Zellers said.

Satyajit Ghosh, Ph.D., a University of Scranton economist, noted the long-term trend for the region has been positive.

"We're holding steady and that's a good thing," he said. "There may not be a whole lot of improvement from May to June, but if you go back to last June, there has been a whole lot of improvement over the year. If we can maintain this or slowly improve on it, there will be more jobs created."

Ghosh also anticipates the local unemployment rate may start to dip over the coming months.

"As long as we're not doing worse than before and slowly have job growth, I think we'll gradually see a reduction," he said.

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