The York-Hanover unemployment rate dropped in June, but, paradoxically, fewer people had jobs.

The jobless rate dropped from 5.4 to 5.2 percent because fewer people were counted in the labor force, according to statistics released by the state Department of of Labor & Industry. That rate is lower than the state rate of 5.6 percent and the national rate of 6.1 percent.

From May to June, York's seasonally adjusted number of jobs decreased by 500, from 212,900 to 212,400.

But the number of people counted as unemployed dropped from 12,200 to 11,700, because the area's labor force dropped by 1,000, according to the statistics.

That's been a trend around the state; the labor force participation rate has dropped by 0.9 percent in the past year and 0.3 percent from May to June.

But it's not necessarily a cause for concern, said Ismael Fertenbaugh, an analyst with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry.

"What matters is why people aren't in the labor force," he said.

The drop in labor force participation has come from people who are not able to work, Fertenbaugh said.

People in this category, for example, could have gone back to school or might have to care for a relative, he said.

Also, as the Baby Boomer generation ages and begins to exit the work force, the labor force naturally will drop, he added. Pennsylvania, with an older population than many states, is seeing that happen now, Fertenbaugh said.


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In York, industries like manufacturing and construction added jobs in June, as is expected. Government and eduction shed jobs, as is normal for June. June marked York's 17th straight month that the unemployment rate dropped.

Fertenbaugh said he thinks York is headed, slowly but surely, in the right direction.

"York has had a gain since the end of the Great Recession," he said. "It hasn't rocketed back to what it was, but it has had a gain."