For The Tribune-Democrat
Just when the local labor market appeared to be gaining momentum earlier this year, albeit in small increments, the job level reversed itself with consecutive over the month losses in June, July, and again in August.
Not surprisingly, the month-to-month job changes through August have been of nominal proportion and attributed to seasonal reductions.
Beyond this, these developments show the recent labor market trends associated with the prolonged carryover of the ongoing recessionary period. It also reveals some of the reasons that are largely responsible for the negative lingering impact and ongoing concerns about the direction of the economy.
As the pace of recovery continues to vary among most all industry sectors, the absence of sustained progress in job creation so far this year continues to take its toll on many segments of our job market to include reductions in the working population, as many workers who have lost their jobs were in industries not likely to fully recover.
At present, industry level data, which is not seasonally adjusted, had few significant movements in August. Most industries held steady with nominal gains in mining, logging and construction (+100) offset by a small drop in retail trade (-100) while professional and business services declined by 200.
Total jobs numbered 58,500, down 200 over the month while numbering 200 above last year.
Across the region, Bedford, Huntingdon and Fulton counties each added 100 jobs over the month, while Blair and Somerset counties reported no change.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the Johnstown metropolitan statistical area was unchanged over the month at 8.7 percent.
A year ago, the figure stood at 8.9 percent.
The unadjusted rate currently placed at 9.1 percent was the same as a month ago, while equaling 9.4 percent last year.
The statewide rate rose two tenths to reach 7.7 percent while nationally the rate fell one-tenth to 7.3 percent.
The jobless rate in neighboring counties showed Bedford County at 8.4 percent, Somerset at 9.1 percent and Blair with the lowest rate at 6.9 percent.
For 40 years, Bill Findley was employed by the state Department of Labor and Industry Center for Workforce Information and Analysis as a workforce information specialist, monitoring and reporting on labor market developments in this area and across the region. He is a graduate of Pitt with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.