The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Breaking News

Local News

May 2, 2014

Jobless number lowest in 6 years

Preliminary rate of 6.3 percent below federal level

MERCER COUNTY — Mercer County’s unemployment rate in March hit 6.3 percent, the lowest in nearly six years.

While the rate is preliminary and may be adjusted next month, it follows a continuing trend of declining unemployment among county residents. The rate hasn’t been this low since June 2008 when the rate was 6.3 percent, according to the state Department of Labor and Industry which released the figures.

For the first time in a long while the local jobless rate was below the national 6.7 percent rate. However, it continued to remain above the state’s 6 percent rate.

March’s county jobless figures nudged down just a hair from February’s 6.4 percent rate.

Over the past year the county’s jobless rate has fallen a full two percent. The county ranked 34th among the state’s 67 counties in terms of having the lowest unemployment rate.

Figures for March show the labor force and number of employed held steady at 54,300 and 50,900 respectively from February. The number of unemployed was down a slight 100 in March to stand at 3,400.

Although nobody is proclaiming boom times are here, there is an acknowledgment the county, like the rest of the nation, is ever so slowly digging out of the Great Recession.

It was at the end of summer in 2008 when the economy began to tank, noted Randy Seitz, chief executive officer of Penn-Northwest Development Corp., Mercer County’s lead economic development agency.

“Banks weren’t loaning, companies weren’t adding jobs and people weren’t spending,’’ he said of the period. “Consumer confidence was completely wiped out.’’

By 2013, though, Seitz said there were clear signals the economy was improving. Speculation of a doomsday tax restructuring didn’t materialize. Further, the rollout of Obamacare health insurance has been held off for a couple years.

“I think the phase we’re in now is consumer confidence is back,’’ Seitz said. “People are buying, and because people are buying companies have begun to expand.’’

Locally, Penn-Northwest launched its “Make it in Mercer County’’ campaign to attract new companies and get others already here to expand. The agency has averaged around 700 leads of businesses looking to locate or expand here in each of the past two years, Seitz noted.

Putting that into perspective, in any given year there are 2,500 company expansion projects of real merit on the board nationally. So far this year, 13 of those prospects conducted a local on-site visit of possible locations of where they could settle. There are good chances those visits will develop into a deal. In development terms, that’s a strong batting average, he added.

Another big plus for the county is that it has diversified over the past 30 years.

“We have a diversified employment base that supplies value to so many other sectors, it’s keeping us relevant,’’ Seitz said.

Rates for surrounding counties were:

• Butler, 5.2 percent

• Crawford, 6.1 percent

• Lawrence, 6.6 percent

• Venango, 6.4 percent

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Better security Grant available to boost security in district courts

    County officials are looking to quickly upgrade security systems in the five district judge offices, not due to an increase in risk, but because current systems are antiquated and there is a short window to apply for some financial help with the costs.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Officials split over selling older monitors

    What to do with a pile of older LCD computer monitors, keyboards and mice remains up in the air until the third, and often absent, county commissioner makes a decision.

    July 24, 2014

  • Police anxious to talk with victim

    Sharon police want to talk to a West Hill man about several other men who came to his house shortly before he was shot and critically wounded Tuesday.

    July 24, 2014

  • AED presentation Heart-friendly pool

    The Lackawannock-Shenango-West Middlesex Pool has some pretty obvious changes from when it was opened almost 46 years ago.

    July 24, 2014 4 Photos

  • Sharon man 'stable' after being shot in his West Hill home

    A Sharon man was in stable condition this morning after being shot by one of several men he had let into his West Hill home, police said.

    July 23, 2014

  • GJR killer not eligible for parole, court rules

    State Superior Court on Tuesday reversed a local judge’s decision that the sentence for one of two men who killed a night supervisor at George Junior Republic, Pine Township, was unconstitutional.

    July 23, 2014

  • Duplicated files, former worker confesses

    A Mercer woman accused of stealing customer lists, billing information and other data from her former employer headed off trial Monday by pleading guilty to a charge of unlawful duplication.

    July 23, 2014

  • Starved house Vandals vent their emotions

    Vandals kept police busy Sunday and Monday nights at a home in Greenville where the Mercer County District Attorney’s office said a boy was starved and beaten by his mom.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Couple, another man charged in thefts

    Pennsylvania State Police have filed charges of burglary, theft, receiving stolen property and criminal mischief against an East Palestine, Ohio, couple and another man in connection with two robberies in rural Mercer County.

    July 22, 2014

  • Taking stock Where’s the beef? Bull’s still missing

    Is it possible that an alien abduction took place in the Mercer area last week? A solid red, 2-year-old Watusi bull with 3-foot-long horns has been missing since July 14 with no trace of its existence left on earth.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Buhl Day honorees

    The Buhl Day committee has chosen for this year’s celebration five honored guests whose volunteer work they feel best showcases the legacy of philanthropic work left behind by Frank and Julia Buhl a century ago.

    July 22, 2014

  • GC pair not hurt in accident injuring 2

    Two drivers were taken to a hospital after an accident at the intersection of state routes 965 and 173 in Worth Township, police said.

    July 21, 2014

  • WaterFire crowds WaterFire doused

    Sharon’s WaterFire wasn’t lacking either of its elements on Saturday. There was steady, day-long rain but the day concluded with the Shenango River ablaze.

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • ‘Starved’ boy released from hospital

    A 7-year-old boy allegedly starved and beaten by his mother is out of the hospital and ordered out of his Greenville home by Mercer County Common Pleas President Judge Thomas R. Dobson.

    July 20, 2014

  • WaterFire walking tour Time traveling

    A group of more 50 people walked between the raindrops Saturday during an historical tour of downtown Sharon during the city’s WaterFire celebration.

    July 20, 2014 6 Photos 1 Story