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Friday, March 14, 2014


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Unemployment in the Philadelphia Area by County – December 2013

All Area Counties’ Unemployment Rates Declined Over the Year

In December, Chester County, Pa., recorded the lowest unemployment rate in the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pa.-N.J.-Del.-Md. Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) at 4.6 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that Philadelphia County, Pa., (8.4 percent) posted the highest unemployment rate among the 11 counties that make up the metropolitan area. Five other counties also posted jobless rates greater than or equal to the U.S. average of 6.5 percent, while five had rates lower than the U.S. rate. (See chart 1 and chart 2. The Technical Note at the end of this release contains metropolitan area definitions. All data in this release are not seasonally adjusted; accordingly, over-the-year analysis is used throughout.)

Chart 1. Unemployment rates for the United States and counties in the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pa.-N.J.-Del.-Md. Metropolitan Statistical Area, December 2013, not seasonally adjusted

From December 2012 to December 2013, all 11 counties in the Philadelphia metropolitan area recorded unemployment rate declines, with Salem, N.J., posting the largest at 4.2 percentage points. The smallest jobless rate decrease, 1.0 point, was in New Castle, Del.—also the only county in the area to post a smaller over-the-year decrease than the nation’s decline of 1.1 percentage points. (See table A.)

Table A. Unemployment rates for the United States, the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pa.-N.J.-Del.-Md. Metropolitan Statistical Area, and its components, not seasonally adjusted
Area Unemployment rate Net change from
Dec 2011 Dec 2012 Dec 2013(1) Dec 2011 to Dec 2013(1) Dec 2012 to Dec 2013(1)

United States

8.3 7.6 6.5 -1.8 -1.1

Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pa.-N.J.-Del.-Md.

8.0 8.3 6.4 -1.6 -1.9

Philadelphia, Pa. Metropolitan Division

7.7 8.1 6.3 -1.4 -1.8

Bucks County, Pa.

6.7 7.2 5.6 -1.1 -1.6

Chester County, Pa.

5.5 5.9 4.6 -0.9 -1.3

Delaware County, Pa.

7.4 7.9 6.0 -1.4 -1.9

Montgomery County, Pa.

6.3 6.6 5.1 -1.2 -1.5

Philadelphia County, Pa.

10.4 10.5 8.4 -2.0 -2.1

Camden, N.J. Metropolitan Division

9.2 9.7 7.0 -2.2 -2.7

Burlington County, N.J.

8.6 9.0 6.5 -2.1 -2.5

Camden County, N.J.

9.9 10.4 7.4 -2.5 -3.0

Gloucester County, N.J.

9.0 9.7 6.9 -2.1 -2.8

Wilmington, Del.-Md.-N.J. Metropolitan Division

7.2 7.3 6.0 -1.2 -1.3

New Castle County, Del.

6.5 6.7 5.7 -0.8 -1.0

Cecil County, Md.

8.5 8.3 6.8 -1.7 -1.5

Salem County, N.J.

11.0 11.4 7.2 -3.8 -4.2

(1) Data for the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pa.-N.J.-Del.-Md. Metropolitan Statistical Area and its components are preliminary for the most recent month.

Unemployment rates in all of the 11 Philadelphia-area counties were lower in December 2013 than in December 2011. Salem County, N.J., recorded the largest jobless rate decrease at 3.8 percentage points, while New Castle County, Del., had the smallest decrease at 0.8 percentage point. Over the last two years, five area counties had larger decreases than the national decline of 1.8 percentage points, while six had smaller decreases.

The December 2013 unemployment rates for the three metropolitan divisions in the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington metropolitan area were 6.0 percent in the Wilmington, Del.-Md.-N.J. division, 6.3 percent in the Philadelphia, Pa. division, and 7.0 percent in the Camden, N.J. division. Since December 2012, the Camden division posted an unemployment rate decrease of 2.7 percentage points.  The Philadelphia and the Wilmington divisions had lower rates of decline at 1.8 and 1.3 percentage points, respectively.

Technical Note

This release presents unemployment rate data for states and counties from the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program, a federal-state cooperative endeavor. 

Definitions. The labor force and unemployment data are based on the same concepts and definitions as those used for the official national estimates obtained from the Current Population Survey (CPS), a sample survey of households that is conducted for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) by the U.S. Census Bureau. The LAUS program measures employment and unemployment on a place-of-residence basis.  The universe for each is the civilian noninstitutional population 16 years of age and over.  Employed persons are those who did any work at all for pay or profit in the reference week (the week including the 12th of the month) or worked 15 hours or more without pay in a family business or farm, plus those not working who had a job from which they were temporarily absent, whether or not paid, for such reasons as labor-management dispute, illness, or vacation. Unemployed persons are those who were not employed during the reference week (based on the definition above), had actively looked for a job sometime in the 4-week period ending with the reference week, and were currently available for work; persons on layoff expecting recall need not be looking for work to be counted as unemployed.  The labor force is the sum of employed and unemployed persons. The unemployment rate is the number of unemployed as a percent of the labor force.

Method of estimation. Estimates for the substate areas in this release are prepared through indirect estimation procedures using a building-block approach. Employment estimates, which are based largely on “place of work” estimates from the Current Employment Statistics (CES) program, are adjusted to refer to place of residence as used in the CPS. Unemployment estimates are aggregates of persons previously employed in industries covered by state unemployment insurance (UI) laws and entrants to the labor force data from the CPS. The substate estimates of employment and unemployment, which geographically exhaust the entire state, are adjusted proportionally to ensure that they add to the independently estimated state or balance-of-state totals. A detailed description of the estimation procedures is available from BLS upon request.

Annual revisions. Labor force and unemployment data for prior years reflect adjustments made at the end of each year, usually implemented with January estimates.  The adjusted estimates reflect updated population data from the U.S. Census Bureau, any revisions in the other data sources, and model reestimation. All substate estimates are reestimated and adjusted to add to the revised model-based estimates.

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone:  (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service : 800-877-8339.

Area definitions. The substate area data published in this release reflect the standards and definitions established by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, dated December 1, 2009. A detailed list of the geographic definitions is available at

The Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pa.-N.J.-Del.-Md. Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) includes Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties in Pennsylvania; Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, and Salem Counties in New Jersey; New Castle County in Delaware; and Cecil County in Maryland.

  • The Camden, N.J. Metropolitan Division (MD) includes Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester Counties in New Jersey.
  • The Philadelphia, Pa. Metropolitan Division (MD) includes Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties in Pennsylvania.
  • The Wilmington, Del.-Md.-N.J. Metropolitan Division (MD) includes New Castle County in Delaware; Cecil County in Maryland; and Salem County in New Jersey.

Chart 2. Unemployment rates for counties in the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pa.-N.J.-Del.-Md. Metropolitan Statistical Area, not seasonally adjusted, December 2013

Last Modified Date: March 14, 2014