For The Tribune-Democrat
In December, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the Johnstown labor market area increased two-tenths of a percentage point to 8.9 percent.
Statewide, the rate rose slightly, up one-tenth in December to 7.9 percent and up two-tenths over the year.
The national rate held steady at 7.8 percent and was down seven-tenths of a percentage point from the previous year.
This was the first time since May 2008 that the Johnstown unemployment rate was a full percentage point above the statewide rate.
Cambria County’s unemployment rate tied Lehigh County’s as the 47th lowest in the state, while the rates in neighboring counties were: Blair (7.3 percent), Bedford (9.8 percent) and Somerset (9.7 percent).
According to the Department of Labor and Industry’s monthly report, seasonally adjusted total nonfarm jobs in the Johnstown MSA dropped by 600 in December to 59,900.
During the past 12 months, Johnstown has had five months with job growth, five months with job loss and two months without any movement.
According to Ismael Fertenbaugh, industry and business analyst for the Department of Labor and Industry, industry level data, which is not seasonally adjusted, showed that job declines locally occurred across several major industry groups in December.
Despite these losses, private industry jobs were up 500 over the year, while government jobs have fallen by 300.
December 2012 marks five years after the start of the Great Recession. Since that time, total nonfarm jobs in the Johnstown MSA have fallen by 2,600, split evenly between private and government jobs.
Private industries experienced broad-based losses since 2007 with manufacturing down 600 jobs; trade, transportation and utilities down
by 800 jobs; and professional and business services lost
However, education and health services jobs expanded by 800 jobs in those five years.
For government totals, local government jobs (down 900) accounted for most of the decline, with the remainder coming from federal government (a loss of 400).
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