Hearthside Happenings

Unemployment Rates in the Lehigh Valley Lowest Since Before the Great Recession

Posted: June 12, 2018 by Rebecca Nutt

For the last 14 months, Lehigh Valley has been witnessing a constant decline in unemployment rates which has undoubtedly brought a wave of hope to all those looking for career opportunities.

The news has been seen as an indicator of improved state and national economic policies and is, therefore, a massive achievement.

The latest figure of 4.6 percent for March 2018 that has been released by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry is found to be the lowest since November 2007, a month before the recession took place.

The government has confirmed an increase in the number of seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs from March 2017, but the number has remained the same from February to March this year.

Expert analyst, Steven Zellers from the Labor Department, believes the numbers will continue to improve as more and more job opportunities surface. According to Zellers, a lot of new jobs have been added to the market - 3,400 jobs opening up in the Transportation and Warehousing sector and 2,300 in Healthcare and Social Assistance.

In fact, the Healthcare and Social Assistance, as well as Professional and Technical Services Sector, have witnessed a record increase from March 2017.

When talking about the labor force, Zeller shared that the labor force that came out to be 431,800 this March has seen a decline of about 5,000 people.

This number included the labor force from counties like Northampton and Carbon, Lehigh, and Warren.

The decline, according to Zeller, can be attributed to the demographic changes taking place within the region such as the increased number of retired individuals and the same change for people finding their way back to education (grad school).

The unemployment rates for African Americans and Latinos have also seen an exceptional decline since March 2018.

Both rates, 6.6 % and 4.8 %, respectively, have been found to be the lowest ever since the Department of Labor started tracking employment trends in Lehigh Valley.

President Donald Trump also expressed his satisfaction with the decline in the unemployment rates to the reporters before leaving the White House to deliver a speech in Texas.

The President expressed his surprise and said he was not expecting to crack the 4% mark.

The President of the American Action Forum policy institute and Economist Douglas, Holtz-Eakin, however, believes that the decline in the unemployment rate along with the shrink in the labor force should not be seen as good news.

Holtz-Eakin believes it would have been a positive development if the labor force had witnessed an increase rather than a decline. He is said to have graded the jobs report a B and would rather have an A-plus.

Zellers, on the other hand, believes it to be a great achievement if one looks at the number of people unemployed over the years. The number of unemployed individuals has witnessed a decline of about 50% when compared to the high during the recession-era.


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