Economy
Unemployment Rate


Unemployment Rate

What does this measure?

Unemployed individuals are those without jobs who are able, available and actively seeking work. The unemployment rate is the number of unemployed people as a percentage of the total labor force (the total number of employed and unemployed individuals 16 or older and not living in prisons, mental hospitals or nursing homes).

Why is this important?

Unemployment rates are a relatively timely indicator of current local economic conditions - particularly recent changes in the employment landscape that reflect the overall health of the economy.

How is our region doing?

In 2017, the unemployment rate in Berks County was 4.6%. This was 0.3 percentage points lower than Pennsylvania as a whole, at 4.9%, and similar to the nation, at 4.4%. From 2000 to 2017, the county's unemployment rate increased 0.7 percentage points, compared to 0.8 points statewide and 0.4 points nationally. Over the 18-year period, Berks County's unemployment rate started at a low of 3.9% in 2000 and peaked at 8.7% in 2009 and 2010.

Berks County's 2017 unemployment rate was higher than neighboring Chester (3.6%), Lancaster (3.8%), Lebanon (4.1%) and Montgomery counties (3.9%), but lower than Lehigh (5.0%) and Schuylkill (5.9%).

Notes about the data

The unemployment rate represents only those who are actively seeking employment and does not account for under-employment or discouraged workers who have stopped looking for jobs. Also, county-level estimates are based on relatively small samples, and the true number of unemployed residents may vary considerably from the estimate. The rates reported here are averages of monthly rates. 2017 data for this indicator are expected to be released in the second quarter of 2018.

There may be additional research available on this topic. Click on Reports and Resources to learn more.

Unemployment Rate
200020012002200320042005200620072008200920102011201220132014201520162017
Pennsylvania4.1%4.8%5.6%5.7%5.4%5.0%4.6%4.4%5.3%8.0%8.5%7.9%7.8%7.4%5.9%5.3%5.4%4.9%
Berks County3.9%4.8%6.0%5.9%5.2%4.9%4.4%4.2%5.3%8.7%8.7%7.9%7.7%7.1%5.5%4.9%5.0%4.6%
Berks County Regions
Central5.4%7.3%8.8%8.8%7.9%7.7%6.7%6.6%8.1%12.7%13.0%12.5%12.1%10.9%8.7%7.6%7.4%7.3%
Northeast
South
Southeast
West
Reading city5.4%7.3%8.8%8.8%7.9%7.7%6.7%6.6%8.1%12.7%13.0%12.5%12.1%10.9%8.7%7.6%7.4%7.3%
Berks County Peers
Chester County3.0%3.4%4.1%4.1%3.7%3.6%3.3%3.1%3.9%6.2%6.2%5.8%5.6%5.3%4.2%3.8%3.9%3.6%
Lancaster County2.8%3.4%3.9%4.1%3.9%3.7%3.5%3.4%4.3%7.2%7.5%6.9%6.5%6.0%4.6%4.1%4.1%3.8%
Lebanon County3.1%3.6%4.2%4.3%4.0%3.6%3.4%3.5%4.2%6.7%7.5%6.9%6.7%6.2%5.0%4.5%4.5%4.1%
Lehigh County3.6%4.4%5.7%5.7%5.3%4.9%4.6%4.4%5.6%8.7%9.2%8.6%8.5%7.8%6.1%5.3%5.3%5.0%
Montgomery County3.1%3.7%4.6%4.5%4.2%3.9%3.6%3.5%4.3%6.8%6.9%6.5%6.4%5.9%4.7%4.2%4.1%3.9%
Schuylkill County5.8%6.5%7.0%7.1%6.8%5.9%5.4%5.0%6.2%9.9%10.6%9.8%9.7%9.2%7.1%6.3%6.2%5.9%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics




Total Unemployed
200020012002200320042005200620072008200920102011201220132014201520162017
Pennsylvania252,341296,929350,036348,648336,781310,832287,870278,934341,890514,912540,062506,761505,625474,600375,036340,483347,589315,737
Berks County7,5979,37911,81711,43710,2739,6978,7838,62111,03817,79618,23016,57316,23315,07211,58910,48410,5999,773
Berks County Regions
Central1,8342,5033,0162,9192,5992,5532,2262,1762,7394,2774,5064,3584,2063,7702,9862,5982,5282,476
Northeast
South
Southeast
West
Reading city1,8342,5033,0162,9192,5992,5532,2262,1762,7394,2774,5064,3584,2063,7702,9862,5982,5282,476
Berks County Peers
Chester County7,1348,24910,07910,1539,3869,3448,7668,35710,74716,73916,84115,59215,35314,44811,39010,55610,86710,083
Lancaster County7,0148,76410,26610,62910,1869,7739,3509,21611,67719,43820,08918,27017,53416,28312,57611,35511,55710,703
Lebanon County2,0182,3842,8412,8472,7612,5192,4022,4963,0454,8785,2364,8334,7314,3973,4763,1733,1642,915
Lehigh County5,8997,3409,4739,4848,9778,3977,9437,73710,05515,47816,28415,52115,51114,34811,1099,90910,1059,487
Montgomery County12,79515,59419,56519,11317,57616,39915,24514,93018,88328,98229,89327,95227,69625,53520,33118,35318,53817,320
Schuylkill County4,0784,5794,8824,9064,7584,1413,8723,6864,6307,3037,4926,8336,9066,4604,8894,2884,1703,886

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics




INDICATORS TREND | BERKS COUNTY