Jobless July

Lancaster County’s unemployment rate jumped to its highest mark in nearly two years in July, the state said Tuesday.

The jobless rate of 4.5 percent was the worst here since August 2014, when the rate was 4.6 percent.

It also was notably weaker than June’s 4.2 percent, the state Department of Labor & Industry report showed.

“This is definitely something to be concerned about and to watch,” said Jeff Newman, an analyst with the department.

The latest figure means the Lancaster County unemployment rate has climbed more than a point since the start of the year.

In January, the county jobless rate was 3.4 percent, based on the county having 9,600 residents out of work.

The July rate reflects the county having 3,000 more residents without work, or 12,600.

Though Lancaster County’s unemployment rate deteriorated in July, the county continued to fare better than most parts of the state and nation.

Lancaster County had the third best jobless rate among the state’s 18 metropolitan areas. In recent years, the county rate has been consistently among the three healthiest.

In July, only Gettysburg (4.1 percent) and State College (4.2 percent) had rates that were superior to Lancaster County. At the opposite extreme, Johnston had the worst rate at 7.1 percent.

The Pennsylvania rate was 5.6 percent and the national rate was 4.9 percent.

Taking a closer look at the Lancaster County numbers for July, dips in jobs in several key sectors of the economy pushed the unemployment rate higher.

Losing significant numbers of jobs over the past year were:

Education, including private schools and private colleges, and health services (down 1,100); professional and business services (700); local government, including public schools (300); information (200); general merchandise stores (100); and financial activities (100).

These setbacks were offset in part by gains in retail trade (up 1,000),  leisure and hospitality (900), and wholesale trade (600).