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Friday, November 16, 2018


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Unemployment in the Philadelphia Area by County – September 2018

Unemployment Rates in All Area Counties Decreased Over the Year

In September, Chester County, PA, had the lowest unemployment rate in the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD Metropolitan Statistical Area at 3.0 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that at 5.2 percent, Philadelphia County, PA, had the highest unemployment rate among the 11 counties that make up the metropolitan area. Salem County, NJ, had the second-highest jobless rate in the area at 5.1 percent. Six other area counties had jobless rates higher than the 3.6 percent U.S. average. (See chart 1 and chart 2. The Technical Note at the end of this release contains the metropolitan area definitions. All data in this release are not seasonally adjusted; accordingly, over-the-year analysis is used throughout.)

From September 2017 to September 2018, all 11 counties in the Philadelphia metropolitan area had unemployment rate decreases. Salem County, NJ, had the largest rate decrease at 1.1 percentage points and was among the four local counties with a rate decrease that exceeded the 0.5-percentage point national decline. Cecil County, MD, had the smallest rate decrease since September 2017, at 0.1 percentage point. Delaware, PA, and Bucks, PA, had rate decreases that were equal to the national decline. (See table A.)

Table A. Unemployment rates for the United States, the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD Metropolitan Statistical Area, and its components, not seasonally adjusted

Unemployment rates Change from
Sep 2016
Sep 2018(1)
Sep 2017
Sep 2018(1)

United States

4.8 4.1 3.6 -1.2 -0.5

Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pa.-N.J.-Del.-Md. Metropolitan Statistical Area

5.1 4.6 4.1 -1.0 -0.5

Philadelphia, Pa. Metropolitan Division

6.2 5.5 4.8 -1.4 -0.7

Delaware County, PA

4.9 4.3 3.8 -1.1 -0.5

Philadelphia County, PA

6.8 6.0 5.2 -1.6 -0.8

Montgomery County-Bucks County-Chester County, Pa. Metropolitan Division

4.2 3.7 3.3 -0.9 -0.4

Montgomery County, PA

4.1 3.6 3.2 -0.9 -0.4

Bucks County, PA

4.6 4.0 3.5 -1.1 -0.5

Chester County, PA

3.8 3.4 3.0 -0.8 -0.4

Camden, N.J. Metropolitan Division

5.0 4.7 4.2 -0.8 -0.5

Burlington County, NJ

4.4 4.2 3.8 -0.6 -0.4

Camden County, NJ

5.6 5.2 4.6 -1.0 -0.6

Gloucester County, NJ

5.0 4.8 4.1 -0.9 -0.7

Wilmington, DE-MD-NJ Metropolitan Division

4.7 4.6 4.2 -0.5 -0.4

New Castle County, DE

4.5 4.5 4.1 -0.4 -0.4

Cecil County, MD

4.9 4.3 4.2 -0.7 -0.1

Salem County, NJ

6.3 6.2 5.1 -1.2 -1.1

(1) Data for the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD Metropolitan Statistical Area and its components are preliminary for the most recent month.

Unemployment rates in all 11 Philadelphia-area counties were lower in September 2018 than in September 2016. Philadelphia County, PA, had the largest two-year jobless rate decrease at 1.6 percentage points, followed by Salem County, NJ, at 1.2 points. New Castle County, DE, had the smallest jobless rate decrease over the last two years, at 0.4 percentage point.

The September 2018 unemployment rates for the four metropolitan divisions in the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington metropolitan area were 3.3 percent in the Montgomery County-Bucks County-Chester County, PA, division; 4.2 percent each in the Wilmington, DE-MD-NJ, and Camden, NJ, divisions; and 4.8 percent in the Philadelphia, PA, division. The Philadelphia division had the largest over-the-year jobless rate decrease at 0.7 percentage point.

The Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment news release for October is scheduled to be released on Thursday, November 29, 2018, at 10:00 a.m. (EDT).

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.

Methods of Estimation. The LAUS program is a hierarchy of non-survey methodologies for indirectly estimating employment and unemployment in states and local areas. Statewide data are produced through a modeling technique that uses estimates of payroll jobs from the Current Employment Statistics survey and unemployment insurance claims counts from the state workforce agencies to mitigate volatility in the direct CPS tabulations of employment and unemployment, respectively. Data for counties are developed through a building-block approach and adjusted proportionally to state model-based totals. For multi-county areas, such as the metropolitan areas and metropolitan divisions delineated by the Office of Management and Budget, estimates are summed from the data for their component counties. Estimates for cities and towns are produced through a disaggregation technique.

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.

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 July 15, 2015. A detailed list of the geographic definitions is available at

The Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD Metropolitan Statistical Area 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, NJ Metropolitan Division includes Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester Counties in New Jersey.

The Montgomery County-Bucks County-Chester County, PA Metropolitan Division includes Bucks, Chester, and Montgomery Counties in Pennsylvania.

The Philadelphia, PA Metropolitan Division includes Delaware and Philadelphia Counties in Pennsylvania.

The Wilmington, DE-MD-NJ Metropolitan Division includes New Castle County in Delaware, Cecil County in Maryland, and Salem County in New Jersey.

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.


Last Modified Date: Friday, November 16, 2018