Lancaster County’s unemployment rate rose slightly to 3.1% in July, the state announced Tuesday.

But at the same time that routine fluctuation occurred, the county marked a significant milestone:

The local unemployment rate has now been below 4.0% for 30 straight months, an indicator of a healthy local economy.

That’s the longest such run since a 54-month streak from December 2003 through May 2008, state records show.

Though the county rate climbed from June’s 3.0%, it remained among the best in Pennsylvania, said the state Department of Labor & Industry.

The local rate was third best among Pennsylvania’s 18 metropolitan areas, trailing only Gettysburg and State College, each at 2.9%.

Tied for worst were East Stroudsburg, Johnstown and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton, all at 4.7%.

As usual, the county rate in July was much healthier than the state rate (3.9%) and the national rate (3.7%).

Pushing Lancaster County’s rate above June’s level was a modest increase in the number of unemployed county residents. That figure rose by 300 to 8,700 in July.

Lancaster County had 275,500 residents with jobs in July.

That indicates a somewhat stronger economy than a year earlier, when Lancaster County’s jobless rate was 3.3%. That rate stemmed from the county having 9,500 residents without work.

To be counted as unemployed by the state, a person must be without a job but actively seeking one.