Employment picture across the region continues to improve

Unemployment rates across the region decreased from June to July, mirroring decreases in Pennsylvania and the nation, according to data released Tuesday by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry.

Greater Philadelphia

Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties are included in the Philadelphia Metropolitan Statistical Area, or MSA, which includes the city and surrounding counties in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington MSA was down one-tenth of a percentage point from June to 4.2% in July, Labor & Industry said.

Broken down to the county level, Chester County’s rate was 2.6% in July, down five-tenths of a percentage point from June, and down 1.6 percentage points from July 2021.

Montgomery County’s rate for July was 2.9%, a decrease of five-tenths of a percentage point from June, and down 2.1 percentage points from July 2021.

Delaware County’s rate was 3.9% in July, down three-tenths of a percentage point from June, and down 2.5 percentage points from a year ago.

Philadelphia County’s July unemployment rate was 5.4%, down five-tenths of a percentage point from June and down 3.5 percentage points from July 2021.

Seasonally adjusted total nonfarm jobs in the greater Philadelphia region increased 0.8%, or up 24,200 over the month to 2,989,000 in July.

Berks County

Berks, which is included in the Reading MSA, saw an unemployment rate for July of 4.5%, unchanged from June, Labor & Industry said. Since last July, the MSA’s rate declined 2.2 percentage points.

Seasonally adjusted total nonfarm jobs in the Reading MSA increased 0.5% over the month, up 800 to 173,500 in July.

Pennsylvania/U.S. numbers

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate was down two-tenths of a percentage point to 4.3% in July, while the national rate was down one-tenth of a percentage point from June to 3.5% in July. Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate in July was 2.1 percentage points below its July 2021 level, while the national rate fell by 1.9 percentage points over the year. The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry released state figures Aug. 18.

Pennsylvania’s civilian labor force — the estimated number of residents working or looking for work — was unchanged from June to July. The employment count rose 12,000 to 6,171,000, while resident unemployment declined 12,000, to 275,000.

Pennsylvania’s total nonfarm jobs were up 31,000 from June to 5,979,500 in July.

Labor & Industry Secretary Jennifer Berrier said the July jobs report is a “testament to Pennsylvania workers’ ability to bounce back from a crisis, provide for their families and contribute to a strong economy that benefits all of us.”

She said July is the first time since June 2019 that Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate has reached 4.3%.

From April 2020 through July 2022, Pennsylvania has recovered approximately 90% of jobs lost in the first two months of the pandemic period.

Around the state

Among the state’s 67 counties, Chester County had the lowest July unemployment rate at 2.6%. Montgomery County was ranked third lowest with 2.9%. Lancaster County was ranked 10th lowest at 3.4%, while Delaware County was tied with Bradford, Juniata, Snyder and Susquehanna counties for 18th lowest with 3.9%. Berks County was tied with Clarion and Mifflin counties for 34th lowest with 4.5%.

Forest County had the highest rate at 6.9%.

The Gettysburg MSA was at 3%, the lowest among the state’s 18 metro areas. The Lehigh Valley was at 4.2%, and Lancaster was at 3.4%. East Stroudsburg had the highest rate at 5.8%.

Pennsylvania’s unemployment data for August will be released by the Department of Labor & Industry on Sept. 16, while specific county and municipality data will be released on Sept. 27.

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