The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


June 29, 2012

Job market shows hints of growth

SUNBURY — While most indications suggest that the region’s economy has begun to recover, economic data shows there is still a long way to go, though it is difficult to track exactly how many businesses have shuttered or laid off workers.

State agencies focus more on the number of people who have lost their jobs than tracking the number of businesses that have laid people off or closed down entirely.

“Plant closings are generally not well advertised unless a legal action is involved,” said Charlie Ross, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce. “CareerLink can pick up on it because of unemployment claims as can the UC office. Realtors can share information and local governments may be an actor as well if there are filings required like foreclosure. I have picked up on one such event since I have been here just by being out and about doing the mission of SIDCO, helping foster economic development in the Valley.”

Ross said the chamber has surveyed companies in two Valley counties — Montour and Snyder — and found that none have plans to close, most report that they feel financially healthy and some have resumed hiring.

The state Department of Labor posts 60-day notices of massive layoffs or plant closings, but companies are only required to provide the notice if they have more than 100 employees, an agency spokeswoman said. Covered employers are required to provide the notice for layoffs affecting more than one-third of their workforce.  Only four plant closings over the last four years showed up in the Department of Labor’s log — Paper Magic in Elysburg, ACF in Milton, Jeld-Wen Interior Doors in Sunbury and CMC Joist in Milton .

The state list includes no local plant closings or layoffs since the middle of 2010.

Those four plant closings resulted in a total job loss of 900. That is only a fraction of the number of layoffs in the region though.

For more details, see Saturday’s edition of The Daily Item.

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