Erie unemployment sets record low at 3.9 percent
Tuesday, July 30th, 2019

A new low point for the unemployment rate wasn’t the only record set in Erie County.

The lowest unemployment rate in more than 40 years got a little bit better in June as Erie County’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent.

That rate, down from 4 percent in May, falls just short of the Pennsylvania rate of 3.8 percent and the U.S. rate of 3.7 percent.

The jobless rate, announced Tuesday by the state Department of Labor & Industry, is actually the lowest since rates were first calculated using the current methodology in 1976, said Lauren Riegel, an industry and business analyst for the state Department of Labor.

Meanwhile, Crawford County’s unemployment rate improved three-tenths of a percentage point to 4 percent.

A new low point for the unemployment rate wasn’t the only record set in Erie County.

Employment in the leisure and hospitality set a record in June, adding 1,300 jobs since May, bringing total employment in the tourism-focused sector to 16,400 jobs.

“The previous record was 15,700,” Riegel said. “It sets a record high by a pretty good margin.”

June brought upward movement in another key category. The manufacturing sector added 300 jobs, bringing total employment to 19,500.

Employers in Crawford County also added 100 jobs in the manufacturing sector, bringing the total to 7,600.

 

Riegel said Erie County flirted with another record in June. With 3,500 employees, employment in the trade, transportation and utilities sector — which is focused on trucking and warehouse activity — is just 100 employees short of a record.

Improving unemployment rates in Erie and Crawford counties were part of a bigger story in June. Riegel said unemployment rates fell in 53 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties during the month.

Over the past year, the number of people counted as unemployed in Erie County has fallen from 6,700 to 5,500. During that same period, the unemployment rate has fallen from 4.7 percent.

Jim Martin can be reached at 870-1668 or by email. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ETNMartin.