Unemployment stalled in Philadelphia area


The unemployment rate fell in Camden, Gloucester and Burlington counties, although it continued to creep up in Philadelphia, surrounding Pennsylvania counties and the Wilmington area. However, July's rate was less than it was a year ago, the U.S. Labor Department reported Wednesday morning.

In Philadelphia and its Pennsylvania suburbs, the unemployment rate rose slightly, from 8.2 percent to 8.3 percent, although it is down from 9.0 percent a year ago. The Wilmington area, which includes parts of Maryland and Salem County in New Jersey, also increased, again slightly, from 7.9 percent to 8.0 percent, but down from 8.3 percent in July 2012. The only gainers were the three South Jersey counties, who needed some improvement. Their statistics show an unemployment rate of 9 percent, down from 9.4 percent in June and 10.8 percent in July 2012.

The entire region had an unemployment rate of 8.4 percent, stable from June and down from 9.3 percent a year ago.

The percents seem so analytic and mathematical, which is why I also want to give you the numbers: 60,500 unemployed in Camden, Gloucester and Burlington counties, 167,800 unemployed in Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery Chester and Delaware counties, and 28,400 in the Wilmington area -- 256,700.

Think about Upper Darby Township, population nearly 83,000. Multiply that by three -- and imagine every man, woman and child without work. That's what we are looking at here and it's not good.

This is also the most conservative measure of unemployment -- not including those who are forced to work part time, or those too discouraged by job prospects to look. These figures are not seasonally adjusted. For comparison's sake, the unemployment rate nationally in July, not seasonally adjusted, was 7.7 percent, down from 8.6 percent. New Jersey's unemployment rate, again not seasonally adjusted, was 8.6 percent, down from 10.2 percent a year ago, and 9.0 percent in June. In Pennsylvania, the unemployment rate in July was 7.8 percent, down from 7.9 percent in June and 8.5 percent a year ago.