Fourth District Employment Conditions
The district’s unemployment rate jumped up 0.4 percent to 6.6 percent for the month of July. The increase in the unemployment rate is attributed to monthly increases in the number of people unemployed (5.9 percent) along with a decrease in the number of people employed (−0.5 percent). The District’s rate was 0.9 percent higher than the nation’s in July, and it has been consistently higher since early 2004. Since this time last year, the Fourth District’s unemployment rate has increased 1.2 percentage points and the nation’s has increased 1.0 percentage point.
Unemployment rates varied considerably across counties in the Fourth District. Of the 169 counties that make up the District, 29 had an unemployment rate below the national average in July and 140 had a higher rate. Twelve District counties reported double-digit unemployment rates, while 6 counties had an unemployment rate below 5.0 percent. Rural Appalachian counties continue to experience higher levels of unemployment, and counties along the Ohio-Michigan border have begun to see more elevated rates of unemployment.
The distribution of unemployment rates among Fourth District counties ranges from 4.1 percent to 11.8 percent, with the median being 7.0 percent. Only one of Pennsylvania’s Fourth District counties lies in the upper half of the distribution, whereas 59 percent of Ohio’s counties and 57 percent of Kentucky’s District counties are above 7.0 percent. These county-level statistics are reflected in statewide unemployment rates: Ohio’s is at 7.2 percent, Kentucky’s is 6.7 percent, and Pennsylvania’s is 5.4 percent.
The distribution of monthly changes in unemployment rates shows that the median county unemployment rate increased 0.4 percentage point from June to July. The rise in county-level unemployment rates was concentrated in Kentucky and Ohio during this period. In Kentucky, 93 percent of the counties in the District experienced an increase in the unemployment rate, as did 86 percent of the counties in Ohio.