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Unemployment rate on the decline in county

Unemployment in Warren County hasn’t returned to pre-COVID-19 levels.

But it’s getting closer.

The unemployment rate in November in the county came in at 5.8 percent.

Data from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, Center for Workforce Information & Analysis detailed November’s statistics was released this week.

The rate fell from 6.5 percent to 5.8 from October to November. That’s still one percent higher than November 2019 though when the rate was 4.8 percent.

Rates have consistently fallen for several months — 11.2 percent in July to nine percent in August down to 7.2 percent in September and then 6.5 percent in October.

As is typically the case, the rate in the county outpaces the region. Rates in Bradford came in a 6.4 percent, 7.4 percent in Erie, 7.8 percent in Forest County, 6.5 percent in Meadville and 6.7 percent in Oil City.

The state-wide rate for November came in at 6.6 percent with the national rate a tick higher at 6.7 percent.

Data show jobs gained in several categories — including service-providing, trade/transportation/utilities trade and professional and businesses services with losses in goods-producing.

While the rate might be declining, there is foreboding job loss on the horizon.

Employees at the Irvine Distribution Center were notified in November that operations are closing and moving to Georgia by the end of April.

“Positions at the IDC will be eliminated,” according to a letter dated Nov. 9 sent to employees from BLST Operating Company. BLST acquired Bluestem Brands, the parent company of Blair, in August. “We anticipate termination dates will begin in March 2021.”

That is expected to impact approximately 300 employees.

According to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics at the U.S. Department of Labor, seasonal adjustment “is a statistical technique that attempts to measure and remove the influences of predictable seasonal patterns to reveal how employment and unemployment changes from month-to-month.”

“These seasonal adjustments make it easier to observe the cyclical, underlying trend and other nonseasonal movements in the series,” making it possible to make month-to-month comparisons.

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