Last updated: February 19. 2013 7:35PM - 536 Views

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For the first time since May, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area showed a month-to-month decrease in October.

The rate dropped one-tenth of a percentage point to 9.5 percent. It was still the highest of the state's 14 metro regions and the only one above 9 percent. State College was the lowest at 5.9 percent.

Still, Keystone College professor of business Dana Harris said the report left her feeling quite optimistic.

It was one of the best reports I've seen in a while, Harris said. And it comes on the heels of two other positive reports on the economy that when combined with the jobs report make her feel more convinced that the recovery has taken a nice foothold.

According to the report released Wednesday by the state Department of Labor and Industry, the local labor force, made up of people living in Luzerne, Lackawanna and Wyoming counties who were working or looking for work, rose by 9,200 in 12 months, with employment up 7,700.

A separate count of jobs within the region rose by 5,700 over the year, an increase of 2.2 percent, thanks to gains in goods-producing industries, where jobs were up over the month and the year.

The only sector that experienced a significant month-to-month loss of jobs was leisure/hospitality, which lost 600 jobs. But compared to the year prior, the total was up 1,300.

While the local unemployment rate was lower than in September, it is higher than the October 2011 rate of 9.3 percent.

At a county level, the rate dropped from September to October in both Lackawanna and Luzerne counties but climbed slightly in Wyoming County. Those three counties make up the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Pennsylvania's jobless rate decreased one-tenth of a point in October to 8.1 percent, while the U.S. rate increased one-tenth to 7.9 percent.

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