Tourism contributes to unemployment drop in Lehigh Valley

By - Last modified: July 31, 2013 at 11:32 AM

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Photo by Brian Pedersen: The recently expanded and renovated Crayola Factory in Easton is one of the contributors to new jobs in the Lehigh Valley.
Photo by Brian Pedersen: The recently expanded and renovated Crayola Factory in Easton is one of the contributors to new jobs in the Lehigh Valley.

The Lehigh Valley's unemployment rate continues to drop. Unemployment in the Lehigh Valley decreased one-tenth of a percentage point in June to 7.8 percent.

It was the fifth consecutive decrease, and unemployment is now at its lowest rate since February 2009 when it was 7.6 percent.

Professional and business services and leisure and hospitality were at record level highs.

Kim Lilly, vice president of Discover Lehigh Valley, said this morning that she wasn't surprised to see an increase in hiring in the leisure and hospitality industries.

"The economy is technically getting a little better. People are getting out. They're traveling a little bit more than they did in the past, and that's a good thing," she said.

Lilly said there are multiple places creating jobs, including the old standards, such as Dorney Park, and new additions including the Sands Event Center and the newly redone Crayola Factory.

Total seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs increased by 2,900 to a record high of 354,400 in June. The rate is up 10,200 jobs over June 2012.

Seasonal gains occurred in mining, logging and construction, professional and business services and leisure and hospitality. All three supersectors were up, compared to both May 2013 and June 2012.

The largest declines since May were in transportation and warehousing, educational services and local government educational services. All experienced reduced staffing as classrooms emptied for the summer in the region's schools, colleges and universities.

Transportation and warehousing was affected as school buses were idled. The drop was minor, down 400 jobs, and the sector increased by more than that amount over the year, up 500 jobs.

There were four supersectors with over-year gains of 1,000 jobs or more: trade, transportation and utilities, professional and business services, education and health services, and leisure and hospitality.

Stacy Wescoe

Stacy Wescoe

Writer and online editor Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at stacyw@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 104. Follow her on Twitter at @morestacy and on Facebook. Circle Stacy Wescoe on .

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