Erie Vital Signs

Employment & Unemployment

Today, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry released the March 2015 employment and unemployment data for the Erie metro area (Erie County).

Key things to note are:

  • Erie’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held constant at 5.3% in March.
  • The unemployment rate is down from 7.0% in March of 2014, a significant improvement in just one year, and down dramatically from the recession peak of 9.7% in early 2010.
  • Erie’s rate was again below the national rate, as it has been for the last 14 months. That is a stark contrast from the long-term behavior of the unemployment rate before the last recession.
  • Erie is still above the amazingly low rate of 4.5% that we reached for three months in early 2007, before the last recession kicked in. We still have a ways to go!
  • In March, there were 7,200 people officially unemployed in Erie County, on a seasonally adjusted basis.
  • There were 128,400 people employed in Erie County in March, up from the 125,000 or so at the bottom of the last recession. But this number is down from the roughly 132,000 last year at this time. The employment numbers are not as strong as they might be.
  • The civilian labor force (those willing and able to work, and either working or looking for a job) continues to fall in Erie County, measuring 135,600 in March. That is down from over 142,000 in October 2008, and the roughly 140,000 last March. This may be a worrisome trend for Erie, depending on why people are leaving the labor force.
  • The employment and labor force data tell a less optimistic story for Erie than the unemployment rate data.

For more information on this EVS indicator, such as time-series data for Erie and its peers back to 2001, go to the EVS website Employment directly. (Note that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is in the middle of a months-long revision of its metro area employment data, so comparable data for Erie’s peer areas will not be available for a few months yet. Those data will be posted to the EVS website as soon as they become available.) To answer the broader question “How is Erie doing?” go to the Erie Vital Signs website for data on the most important measures in seven key fields,

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