Wayne County continues to outperform nearby regional labor markets in terms of unemployment, according to information released by the state Department of Labor and Industry on Tuesday.


Wayne County continues to outperform nearby regional labor markets in terms of unemployment, according to information released by the state Department of Labor and Industry on Tuesday.
With an unemployment rate of 7.2 percent in May, the county maintained its lead over struggling labor markets, such as the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton metro which settled at 8.9 percent and Pike County at 8.7 percent.
Wayne County also beat neighboring New York State counties including: Broome, 7.9 percent; Delaware, 8.1 percent; and Sullivan, 8.5 percent, according to that state’s department of labor.
Although the county still trails where it stood last May when approximately 1,300 people were without a job (5 percent), compared to 1,900 in this latest labor report one year later, as the U.S. begins its slow recovery from the largest economic and financial market unraveling since the Great Depression.
“Nobody has the crystal ball,” said Jennifer Porter, director of Workforce Wayne, a Honesdale-based organization attempting to counter unemployment with job search and training initiatives. “But the general prediction ... unemployment is going to go up.”
The county has been hard hit with quite apparent job losses, including the closing of two car dealerships, a weekly newspaper, and a Honesdale manufacturer - Distributor Stock Forms Inc. There are also the less apparent layoffs behind closed doors.
But on the upside it’s not all “doom and gloom,” said Donna LaBar, executive director of the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce.
“We have some small businesses opening which is encouraging,” said LaBar, noting a sign of confidence in the local economy. “I think we are very fortunate to be in Wayne County.”
Some U.S. labor markets and states have reached double-digit unemployment well above 10 percent - meaning more than one out of 10 people are without a job.
“It still is a challenge,” added LaBar, of the county’s labor market. “It would be wonderful if we could snag” another large employer.
Of the 600 jobs shed in Wayne County from the period of May 2008 to May 2009, the manufacturing and construction sectors lost approximately 200 jobs.
On the flip side, the education and health services sectors created approximately 200 jobs.
The national unemployment rate is 9.4 percent, as reported by the federal Department of Labor for the month of May. The state stands at 8.2 percent, translating into 532,000 residents who remain unemployed.