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Fourth District employment conditions.

As of the end of 2011, the rate of unemployment in the Fourth District stands at 7.8 percent. Typically, the Fourth District rate's unemployment rate has been higher than the nation's, but it now rests below the national rate of 8.5 percent. Over the past year, both the Fourth District and the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area.  as a whole saw the unemployment rate decline a marked 1.5 percentage points. Future improvements in the labor market labor market A place where labor is exchanged for wages; an LM is defined by geography, education and technical expertise, occupation, licensure or certification requirements, and job experience  may be subdued, however, due to changes in the Fourth District's labor force.

The distribution of unemployment rates among Fourth District counties ranges from a low of 5.1 percent (Mercer County Mercer County is the name of several counties in the United States:
  • Mercer County, Illinois
  • Mercer County, Kentucky
  • Mercer County, Missouri
  • Mercer County, New Jersey
  • Mercer County, North Dakota
  • Mercer County, Ohio
  • Mercer County, Pennsylvania
, Ohio) to a high of 15.5 percent (Jackson County, Kentucky Jackson County is a county located in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. It was formed in 1858. As of 2000, the population is 13,495. Its county seat is McKee6. The county is named for Andrew Jackson; it's a prohibition or dry county. Geography
According to the U.S.
), with the median county unemployment rate at 8.7 percent. County-level patterns reflect statewide unemployment rates. For example, as of December 2011, the unemployment rate was 8.1 percent in Ohio, 9.1 percent in Kentucky, 7.6 percent in Pennsylvania, and 7.9 percent in West Virginia West Virginia, E central state of the United States. It is bordered by Pennsylvania and Maryland (N), Virginia (E and S), and Kentucky and, across the Ohio R., Ohio (W). Facts and Figures

Area, 24,181 sq mi (62,629 sq km). Pop.
. Compared to December 2010, all states within the District experienced declines in unemployment levels of nearly 1.0 percent or better.

There are significant differences in unemployment rates across counties in the Fourth District. Of the 169 counties that make up the District, 80 had an unemployment rate below the national rate and 89 counties had a rate at or higher than 8.5 percent. Roughly 28 percent of the Districts counties have a double-digit unemployment rate. This is a significant improvement from a peak of over 77 percent in October 2009, which indicates that the Districts labor market is improving. Geographically, unemployment remains the highest in remote areas of Ohio and Kentucky, while rural Pennsylvania has maintained a stronger labor market.

One reason to be cautious about the evident improvement in the District's unemployment rate lies in the underlying dynamics of the Fourth Districts labor market. Recent changes may not be entirely due to recent economic factors but rather changing population demographics. Despite falling unemployment levels within the District, the District labor force declined by 1.0 percent, or 90,000 jobs, in 2011. Notable declines like these may call into question the true health of our District's labor market. Going forward, if these participants return to the labor force, future labor market progress may be muted.





February 24, 2012
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Title Annotation:Labor Markets, Unemployment, and Wages
Author:Fee, Kyle; Oliver, Nelson
Publication:Economic Trends
Date:Mar 1, 2012
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