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Local unemployment picture

By Fritz Mayer
January 8, 2014

UPPER DELAWARE RIVER VALLEY — For the first time since 2009, the unemployment rate in Pike County has dropped below 10%. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, as of November 2013, employment was up in Pike County, causing the unemployment rate to drop from 10.2% to 8.8%.

In Wayne County, the November 2013 unemployment rate was 7.2%, which is up a bit from the previous month but still lower that the state’s average, which has dropped to 7.3%.

November marked the third consecutive statewide decline and the eighth decline in the past 12 months.

Pennsylvania’s civilian labor force—the number of people working or looking for work—was down 14,000 in November to 6,458,000.

In Sullivan County New York, the unemployment rate for November 2013 dropped slightly from 8.1 to 8.0%; that’s down from 9.2 in November 2012.

The overall state unemployment rate for New York was 7.4%. New York State’s private sector job count increased by 141,700 from November 2012 to November 2013.

Minimum wage

In New York, legislation was passed that raised the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8 an hour, which went into effect on January 1. The rate for employees who receive tips as part of their salary remained at $2.13 per hour

In Pennsylvania, the minimum wage remains at $7.25 an hour, and $2.83 for tipped employees. Democrats in Harrisburg have proposed raising the minimum wage to $9, but the Republican-controlled legislature and Gov. Tom Corbett are opposed to any increase.

In New Jersey, by comparison, legislation passed in 2013 that increased the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25 per hour, but the rate for tipped employees remained at $2.13 per hour.

The state of Washington has the highest minimum wage in the country. Because it is tied to the consumer price index, it is rising from $9.19 to $9.32 per hour in 2014 for all employees regardless of whether they receive tips.