Crawford County’s unemployment rate continues to fall, dropping down to nearly 6 percent.
The county’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent for January, down from 6.5 percent in December, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.
The drop pushes the county’s unemployment rate below both Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate of 6.4 percent and the national rate of 6.6 in January.
“Statewide, we’ve had a decrease of those in the labor force,” Ashley Kobal, a state labor analyst in Harrisburg, said Tuesday of why the drop in unemployment may have continued. “People may have left the labor force because they’ve not found a job or they don’t want to look because their family circumstances have changed.”
The county’s total labor force was 42,400 in January, with 39,800 employed and 2,600 unemployed while December’s total labor force was 42,700 with 39,900 employed and 2,800 unemployed.
The labor force numbers are based on where a person lives, not where their job is, Kobal said. A person may live in Crawford County but work in another county, she said.
Crawford County saw an annual year end drop in the overall total number of jobs within the county, Kobal said. There was an overall reduction of 800 jobs in service-providing industries between December 2013 and January 2014, but job levels for service-producing industries in both January 2013 and January 2014 were at 23,300.
“It’s the season decrease,” Kobal said of the December to January drop in the number of jobs within the county. “Seasonal employment ends in trade, the area’s private colleges are shut and some seasonal businesses end.”
Manufacturing in Crawford County fell by 100 jobs to 7,400 in January but the industry is ahead of January 2013 when there were 7,300 manufacturing jobs. Kobal said the drop could be due to rounding.
Manufacturing remains important to Crawford County compared to other parts of Pennsylvania and the country. About 22 percent of the jobs in the county are related to manufacturing, compared to 10 percent for the state and 11 percent nationally. Many of the area’s tooling and machining shops are suppliers of tools, equipment and parts to major manufacturers.
All the surrounding counties saw decreases in unemployment in January. The rates for the other counties, listed January and December, are: Erie, 6.7, 7.0; Mercer, 6.4, 7.2; Venango, 6.6, 6.7; and Warren, 5.3, 5.4.
Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.