Fourth District Employment Conditions, March
The district’s unemployment rate jumped 0.4 percent to 5.7 percent for the month of March. The increase in the unemployment rate can be attributed to increases in the number of people unemployed (6.6 percent) and the labor force (0.1 percent), along with a decrease in the number of people employed (–0.3 percent). The district’s unemployment rate was higher than the national rate in March (by 0.6 percent), as it has been since early 2004. Since this time last year, both the Fourth District and the national unemployment rates have increased by 0.7 percentage point.
There are considerable differences in unemployment rates across counties in the Fourth District. Of the 169 counties that make up the Fourth District, 24 had an unemployment rate below the national average in March, and 145 had a higher unemployment rate than the national average. Rural Appalachian counties continue to experience higher levels of unemployment than others in the district.
The distribution of unemployment rates among Fourth District counties ranges from 3.9 percent to 10.3 percent, with a median county unemployment rate of 6.1 percent. Pennsylvania counties tend to populate the middle to lower half of the distribution, with roughly two-thirds of Kentucky’s Fourth District counties in the upper half of the distribution.
The distribution of monthly changes in unemployment rates shows that the median county’s unemployment rate increased 0.37 percentage point from February to March. The county-level changes indicate that 69 percent of Ohio counties experienced an increase in unemployment rates that exceeded 0.4 percentage point. Alternatively, Pennsylvania counties averaged no change in unemployment rates, with 11 out of the 19 Fourth District Pennsylvania counties actually showing declines in unemployment rates.