Nancy Hecklick sighed at reports of the latest local unemployment numbers.
The unemployment rate for the York-Hanover area rose two tenths of a percentage in August, according to statistics released Monday by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry.
"It's tough out there. I've been looking for a long time," she said.
Hecklick, a West Manchester Township resident, once had a bountiful career in furniture sales and interior design.
"But when the economy tanked during the recession, people weren't hiring professionals to decorate their homes anymore," she said.
Since then, Hecklick has been holding odd jobs "to get by," she said.
She's not alone, according to recent numbers.
The local unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9 percent in August. It marks the third consecutive increase in the local unemployment rate, which was 7.7 percent in July and 7.4 percent in June.
Hoping for a boost: But an analyst said he's not overly concerned about that gradual increase.
"I'm kind of waiting to see how things pan out during the next few months," said William Sholly, an analyst for the state Department of Labor & Industry.
Employment typically picks up a little during the fall months, as the holiday shopping season begins, he said.
Local retailers, and an Amazon warehouse in York County, have already begun hiring to handle the jump in sales expected during the busiest shopping season of the year.
This week, Hecklick was getting ready to apply at Kohl's, hoping to land one of their open positions for holiday help.
"It will help make ends meet," she said.
Under-employed: Aric Pieri doesn't know how he feels about retail, he said, but he might try for one of Amazon's warehouse jobs.
"Every little bit helps," he said.
Pieri, a York City resident, considers himself "under-employed."
He's a commercial and residential painter whose work plummeted during the height of the recession and has remained flat ever since, he said.
"When people are struggling, they're worried about putting food on the table, not fixing up their house," he said. "And that hurts guys like me."
Though things are a little better now, he said things still have a long way to go before someone with his job sees the benefits.
"When people start putting money back in their houses, and guys like me are working all the time again, then you'll know things are getting better," he said.
The numbers: Local jobs in mining, logging and construction decreased by 100 for the first time since February - which is likely due to the seasonal nature of those positions, Sholly said.
While those jobs decreased in the area, employment in professional and business services, and the health care and social service industries, reached record highs in August.
Professional and business services added 100 jobs in August, reaching a record-high 19, 700 jobs. And health care and social assistance jobs increased by 100 jobs to 23, 700-it's highest level on record.
Those positions might have helped the York-Hanover area stay above state and national unemployment numbers.
The state's unemployment rate climbed two tenths in August to 8.1 percent, while the nation's dipped to 8.1 percent.
- Candy Woodall can also be reached at email@example.com.