Nov jobless

Lancaster County’s unemployment rate dropped again in November, declining to 3.8 percent, the state said Wednesday.

Slipping from October’s 3.9 percent put the jobless rate at its lowest mark since April 2008, said the state Department of Labor & Industry.

“It’s encouraging,” said Jeff Newman, an analyst for the department.

“It also puts to rest some fears when the rate was going up” in the first half of 2015, rising from 4.0 to 4.4 percent, he added.

November’s retreat — the fourth straight monthly decrease — left the county’s rate third-best among Pennsylvania’s 18 metropolitan areas.

Only State College and Gettysburg had better marks. Both posted unemployment rates of 3.7 percent.

At the other extreme, Johnstown and Williamsport had the worst rates. Both were at 6.0 percent.

The local jobless rate resulted from the county having 10,400 residents without jobs, according to the department.

When the local jobless rate hit its post-recession peak of 8.4 percent in January 2010, the county had 22,400 unemployed residents.

That means the number of county residents without jobs has tumbled 53.6 percent over that nearly six-year span.

Helping to reduce the jobless rate in Lancaster County was strength in several key sectors of the economy, the state report shows.

Retail trade grew by 2,400 jobs from November 2014, the biggest year-over-year upturn ever in that category, to 32,300 jobs, a record high.

Expanding by 1,700 jobs from a year earlier was leisure and hospitality, which includes hotels and restaurants. It reached 24,800 jobs.

Health care and social assistance added 700 jobs from a year earlier, a typical year-over-year gain, to a record high of 37,800 jobs.

Other services, a category that includes churches, nail and hair salons, funeral homes and car-repair shops, expanded by 400 jobs to 13,800 jobs.

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