Berks County’s unemployment rate went up one-tenth of a percentage point to 6.3% in July the state Department of Labor & Industry said Tuesday.
However, it’s still a great improvement from a year ago when the rate was at 13.3% as the country was in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and an available vaccine was months away.
The slight tick upward was reflected in seasonally adjusted total nonfarm jobs, which were mostly unchanged at 166,000. Over the year, jobs are up by 2,100 — or 1.3% — in the county, compared to 4% in the state.
The county’s seasonally adjusted labor force remained the same over the month at 203,800, but is down by 10,300 over the year. The number of employed workers was at 190,900 in July, a year-over-year increase of 5,400. The number of unemployed was at 12,900, compared to 28,600 in July 2020.
Changes among job supersectors were varied over the month. The largest gain was in leisure and hospitality, which was up by 600 jobs, showing recovery from the pandemic. Government jobs were down by 1,400, driven by summer break in local schools.
Pennsylvania’s unemployment for July was 6.6% and the U.S. rate was 5.4%.
Among the state’s 67 counties, Berks was tied with Lycoming, Washington and Wyoming counties for 32nd lowest. Chester County had the lowest rate at 4.1% and Montgomery was ninth at 4.9%. Schuylkill County was tied with Northumberland and Potter for 41st at 6.6%. Philadelphia County had the highest rate at 8.5%.
The Reading Metropolitan Statistical Area, which makes up the entirety of Berks, had the 11th-lowest rate among the state’s 18 MSAs. It was tied with the Lehigh Valley and Williamsport. Gettysburg had the lowest rate at 4.3% and Lancaster had the second-lowest at 4.7%. The Philadelphia MSA was at 6.8%, while Scranton had the highest rate at 7.3%.
Reading’s unemployment rate, not seasonally adjusted, was down 2.8% over the month to 10.6%. The city’s labor force was down 1,100 over the month while the number of employed was unchanged at 29,700.
Among suburban townships, only Muhlenberg saw a drop over the month from 7% to 6.2%. Exeter’s rate was up slightly to 4.5% and Spring remained at 5.2%.
Pottstown’s rate dropped more than a point to 7.2%.
Source: Berkshire mont