REGION—The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) noted in its November employment situation report that the Commonwealth's unemployment rate rose 0.1 percent to a total of 4.2 percent.

This marks the unemployment rate's first “over-the-month increase” since July of 2016, states an L&I release.

It goes on to say that, since last November, Pennsylvania's total unemployment rate has declined by six-tenths of a percentage point.

Wayne County's unemployment rate is 4.7 percent, a total of 1,100 unemployed workers according to statistics from the Center for Workforce Information & Analysis.

Mary Beth Wood, Executive Director of the Wayne Economic Development Corporation (WEDCO), explained this rate has held steady for the past three to four months.

Wood noted, as represented by the County's 4.7 percent unemployment, the state's now 4.2 percent and the United States' 3.7 percent, “We've got a tight labor market right now.”

“Full employment” is considered to hover around the country's 3.7 percent unemployment rate, Wood said.

She explained a tight labor market signifies that most individuals have jobs and those seeking employment can find it.

Tight labor markets can also result in wage increases as employers try to attract workers from the labor pool, said Wood.

According to the L&I report, the Commonwealth's civilian labor force – the number of those looking for work – rose an estimated 21,000 individuals between the October and November reports.

For Wayne County, the most recent reports show there were 600 individuals who entered the workforce, said Wood.

According to L&I, Pennsylvania has a record high 6,172,000 employed individuals, an increase of 17,000.

Similarly, the number of unemployed residents is 40,000 lower than it was in November 2017, despite having elevated by 3,000 between the 2018 reports for October and November.

According to Center for Workforce Information and Analysis statistics for October 2018, Wayne County had a total labor force of 23,100 with 22,000 of those individuals currently employed.

Job growth

The L&I November report states that Pennsylvania jobs increased 1.3 percent within the last 12 months, and grew in 10 of the Commonwealth's 11 supersectors.

Job growth nationally increased by 1.7 percent in the same time frame.

November saw a decrease of 5,400 in Pennsylvania's total nonfarm jobs.

The total now sits at 6,055,500, according to L&I.

L&I also notes of the 11 industry supersectors, five grew between the October and November, 2018 reports.

Construction grew the most in one month statewide and recorded its highest level since May of 2008.

Percentage-wise, mining and logging had the largest gain (+1.0 percent) and “added jobs for the fifth straight month,” states the L&I release.

For Wayne County, the healthcare industry has seen significant growth over the last decade, rising from the third-most populated industry to the the first where it now employs 18 percent of the county's workforce, Wood noted.

Wayne County's other leading industries include retail (15 percent of the workforce), public administration (12.6 percent), hospitality (12.1 percent) and construction (8.3 percent).

Comparing these percentages to the state's numbers allows economic developers to build an industry profile and target key areas they wish to improve, said Wood.

Noting that Wayne County's manufacturing and technical professional industries have lower employment percentages than the state, these are targeted areas for growth, said Wood.

—Information from a release was used in this story.