A report issued Monday from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry shows that unemployment in Wayne County is at 4.7%, a 0.6% increase from last year this at this time.


A report issued Monday from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry shows that unemployment in Wayne County is at 4.7%, a 0.6% increase from last year this at this time.  An even clearer picture of the effect the declining economy has on employers and employees alike can be seen by looking at those same percentages for the month of May across the past three years.  In 2005, unemployment was at 4.9% and showed a gradual decline—up until this year that is. 
Paul Kotran, proprietor of Paulie’s on Park St. in Honesdale, says that he’s turned to hiring fewer people and giving them more hours.  “It’s hard to find good help around here.” he says, citing training new employees as a huge cut into his labor cost.
Furthermore, although the unemployment rate is up in Wayne County, 100 more jobs were created in the past year, which shows that the area economy is struggling to meet the economic demands of a growing population.
Adrienne Duallo of Honesdale is currently unemployed and is having trouble finding a job.  “I have a seven year-old and jobs either don’t pay enough or don’t give enough hours.  They want to give you three or four days a week and expect you to live off of that.”
According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Statistics website, “In May, employment continued to fall in construction, manufacturing, retail trade, and temporary help services, while healthcare continued to add jobs.”
In an area in which leisure and tourism play an integral role in the economy, one might expect tourism to be down, which in turn would lead to fewer jobs in the industry.  Beth Rose of North Penn AAA says that there has been no noticeable decline, and business is “right on track”. She did note, however, that there is a trend toward local travel and the Honesdale branch is selling more park tickets and day-trip bus rides.
Mary Beth Wood of Wayne County Economic Development Corporation says that, “It’s important to look at the bigger picture.” Regionally, Wayne County employment is top-notch.  Joseph Merlina, Industry and Business Analyst for the State Department of Labor Statistics says that a 5% unemployment rate is considered full employment.  Pike County has a 6% unemployment rate, as does Scranton, while even East Stroudsburg is at 5.7%. 
Gregory Celeskey of the Wayne County Assistance Office says that, at least in Wayne County, “People are working.  Cash assistance is the lowest been in the 30 years I’ve been here.”
So while on the surface, yes, unemployment is rising, there is no alarm to be sounded—yet. Wayne County looks good, and while the national economy is struggling and the local population growing, we are rising to the occasion, slowly but surely, and the jobs are there.  Whether or not those jobs are enough to pay for the gas to get there, however, is a different story.