The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Snyder, Union and Northumberland counties decreased slightly in November, a positive sign that could be an indication that the economy has turned the corner.

It is too soon to know if the drop is completely positive news or just an indication that discouraged jobless people have given up hope and ceased looking for work, said Scott Meckley, an industry and business analyst for the state Department of Labor.

The unemployment rate dropped from 10.8 percent to 8.9 percent in Snyder County; from 10.6 percent to 10.1 percent in Northumberland County; and from 9.3 percent to 9.1 percent in Union County. In Montour County, the unemployment rate held steady at 6.5 percent.

While the unemployment rates dropped in Northumberland and Snyder counties, the number of people getting new jobs did not keep pace with the number dropping off the unemployment rolls.

The cloudy picture is being repeated all across the commonwealth, with many other counties and metropolitan areas reporting similar figures, Meckley said.

“There may be some people who are saying ‘It’s just so bleak out there that I’m not going to bother,” and they just sit at home on the couch,” he said. In those cases, the individuals are not working, but they are not defined as “unemployed.”

“To be considered unemployed, you have to be looking for work,” Meckley said.

In Northumberland County, the number of unemployed people dropped by 300, and the number of those with jobs only increased by 100. Labor and industry data indicates most of those new jobs were in education or health services.

In Snyder County, the number of people classified as unemployed dropped by 400, and the number of people employed only increased by 100. Labor and industry data suggests more of those new jobs were added in the retail sector, which may not be surprising considering the busy commercial strip along Routes 11-15 in the eastern part of the county.

Union County’s drop in the unemployment rate appears to be on more solid ground, as the number of unemployed workers did not change, while the number working increased by 100.

Despite the positive blip, the unemployment rates in Snyder, Union and Northumberland counties are roughly double what they were two years ago — 4.9 percent in Northumberland County, 4.9 percent in Snyder County and 5.1 percent in Union County.

“One month of a downturn in the unemployment rate is good news, but what really matters is if we can sustain the trend,” Meckley said. “They keep saying the worst is behind us, and we’re trying to see if that’s true. These numbers are definitely providing reinforcement that maybe the worst is behind us.”

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