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PHILADELPHIA JOBLESS RATE UP TO 7.2 PERCENT IN FEBRUARY

 PHILADELPHIA JOBLESS RATE UP TO 7.2 PERCENT IN FEBRUARY
 /ADVANCE/ PHILADELPHIA, April 3 /PRNewswire/ -- The Philadelphia


area's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased by 0.6 percentage point in February to 7.2 percent, analysts with the state Department of Labor and Industry reported today.
 February was the first month that the unemployment rate was at or above 7.0 percent since May of last year. The average rate for the last nine months was 6.6 percent. The rise in the rate from January to February can be traced, in part, to the larger labor force, meaning more people chose to look for a job in February than in January. The unemployment increase also resulted from weak performances in the construction, manufacturing, and trade industries.
 Department analysts noted that the Philadelphia area's jobless rate has been below that of the state for every month since June 1979. With one exception, it has also been lower than the national average since September 1984.
 The number of Philadelphia area residents currently unemployed increased over the month by 14,300 to a level of 177,000 in February. One year ago, the number of area residents unemployed totaled 146,700.
 Results from a separate survey of employer payrolls show that Philadelphia's February nonfarm jobs total reached 2.09 million, down 2,200 from January, and down 42,200 compared to February a year ago. Over the month, weak performances in manufacturing, trade, and construction accounted for the bulk of the decline. When the size of the employment decline (3,000) is compared with the increase in the size of the labor force (20,300), it becomes clear that the job decline was less of a factor in producing a higher unemployment rate than was the increase in the number of persons looking for work.
 The nonfarm job count excludes farm workers, the self-employed, domestic workers and unpaid family workers.
 In February, average weekly earnings for production workers in all manufacturing industries in the Philadelphia area were $520.02. This is equivalent to $12.84 an hour, 58 cents an hour above the February 1991 rate.
 The Philadelphia region comprises the city and the surrounding counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery, along with the New Jersey counties of Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester.
 Current unemployment rates for the local counties reveal that, over the month, all showed some increase. Since these rates are not seasonally adjusted, the changes could be attributed to a mix of seasonal and economic factors. The local counties continued to fare well in statewide rankings. Chester County (6.2 percent) had the second lowest rate in the state. Montgomery County (6.6 percent), Delaware County (6.8 percent), and Bucks County (8.5 percent) ranked 4th, 7th, and 14th lowest, respectively. Philadelphia County (8.9 percent) ranked 19th lowest of the state's 67 counties.
 A comparison of Pennsylvania's 15 major labor market areas showed that Philadelphia's February seasonally adjusted rate of 7.2 percent was ranked seventh lowest in the state. The rates ranged from 5.4 percent for the Harrisburg-Lebanon-Carlisle Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) to 11.1 percent for the Beaver County Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA).
 PHILADELPHIA PMSA FEB. 1992 (B) JAN. 1992 FEB. 1991
 (Adjusted) (A)
 UNEMPLOYMENT 177,000 162,700 146,700
 RATE 7.2 pct. 6.6 pct. 6.0 pct.
 PA RATE 7.6 pct. 7.1 pct. 6.6 pct.
 U.S. RATE 7.3 pct. 7.1 pct. 6.5 pct.
 PHILADELPHIA PMSA FEB. 1992 (B) JAN. 1992 FEB. 1991
 (Unadjusted)
 LABOR FORCE 2,446,300 2,426,000 2,417,900
 EMPLOYMENT 2,255,000 2,258,000 2,260,000
 UNEMPLOYMENT 191,400 168,000 157,900
 RATE 7.8 pct. 6.9 pct. 6.5 pct.
 PA RATE 8.6 pct. 7.8 pct. 7.5 pct.
 U.S. RATE 8.1 pct. 8.0 pct. 7.2 pct.
 PHILA. PMSA FEB. 1992 (B) JAN. 1992 FEB. 1991
 PA Portion (Unadj.)
 LABOR FORCE 1,903,700 1,890,000 1,887,900
 EMPLOYMENT 1,756,000 1,760,700 1,763,800
 UNEMPLOYMENT 147,700 129,300 124,000
 RATE 7.8 pct. 6.8 pct. 6.6 pct.
 BUCKS CO. RATE 8.5 pct. 7.2 pct. 7.5 pct.
 CHESTER CO. RATE 6.2 pct. 5.2 pct. 5.1 pct.
 DELAWARE CO. RATE 6.8 pct. 6.1 pct. 5.3 pct.
 MONTGOMERY CO. RATE 6.6 pct. 5.8 pct. 5.3 pct.
 PHILA CO/CITY RATE 8.9 pct. 8.0 pct. 7.8 pct.
 (A) Seasonally adjusted figures attempt to "filter out" the labor market fluctuations caused by normal seasonal patterns. With these recurring patterns removed, the data provide a more accurate account of general economic trends.
 (B) Data for current month are preliminary and are subject to revision.
 For additional information on the February 1992 employment data for any specific area, contact the appropriate L&I regional labor market analyst, whose name and phone number are available from the nearest state Job Service Offices located in Job Centers throughout the area or from the Labor and Industry Press Office, 717-787-7530.
 /delval/
 -0- 4/3/92/0830
 /CONTACT: Ed Murray of the Department of Labor & Industry, 215-560-1977/ CO: Department of Labor & Industry; Pennsylvania Governor's Office ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU: ECO


JS -- PH035 -- 4489 04/02/92 15:20 EST
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