The unemployment rate for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton region stood at 4.8 percent in May, unchanged from the previous month, according to data from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.
The rate for the region made up of Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wyoming counties improved seven tenths of a percentage point from May 2006, but ran higher than the state rate of 4.2 percent and the national figure of 4.5 percent.
The two main employment sectors gained jobs during the month, reflecting a 1,400-job increase in the total number of non-farm jobs. The seasonally adjusted total takes into account typical hiring trends during the year.
Construction led the goods producing sector with a gain of 800 jobs from April.
The 11,200 construction jobs for the month outpaced the total for May 2006 by 100.
“We expect this kind of gain in May and June follows suit,” said Joe Merlina, industry and business analyst with the department.
The sector’s other component, manufacturing, showed a 200-job increase. Combined the 1,000-job increase to 45,500 represented the largest May gain in four years for the goods producing sector.
The service providing sector increased by 400 from April to 218,100.
The summer recess and school closings for the year accounted for an 800-job decrease in the education services component of the sector.
“When they close something else happens,” Merlina said, noting there was an increase of 800 leisure and hospitality jobs.
Even with the 4.8 percent unemployment rate, the region ranked next to last among the 14 job markets across the state. Johnstown recorded the highest rate of 5.2 percent. Three markets, State College, Lebanon and Lancaster, tied for the lowest rate of 3.2 percent.
Within the region, Luzerne County reported a 4.7 percent unemployment rate, followed by Lackawanna County at 4.8 percent and Wyoming County at 5.2 percent.