Hiring numbers decreased last month across US

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – According to the Labor Department, hiring numbers decreased last month across the U.S. This could be for a number of reasons, but people in central Pennsylvania don’t have to worry because the demand for jobs is still high.

Help is wanted at FedEx.

“This year, we’re looking for 350 additional package handlers here in the Harrisburg hub by itself due to increase volume during the holiday season,” said Brian Youst, sort manager of FedEx.

But the company as a whole expects to add more than 55,000 seasonal positions to help the holidays arrive this year.

“More and more people don’t go to stores and buy their Christmas presents online. Obviously, they get shipped through shipping companies and FedEx is a beneficiary of that,” Youst said.

But the demand for jobs at FedEx doesn’t line up with the national data. Employers added 142,000 jobs in September. Hiring in July and August was revised lower by 59,000.

“It’s nothing to panic about. We’ll take a look, see what continues over the next few months, whether it’s on a national or a state level,” said Sara Goulet, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

In the Midstate, employment is measured by looking at trends over several months, including labor force participation rate (people actively looking for work), unemployment rate, and job growth. So, while comparing our local data to the national data is like comparing apples to oranges, the fact that people aren’t looking isn’t always a bad thing.

“We’ll find that people have decided ‘I’m working, my partner is working, and now I’d prefer to stay home with the family, with the kids, or with an aging parent or just prefer not to work, and now I don’t feel such a need,’ ” Goulet said.

This can be an indicator the economy is doing well. In fact, the folks at FedEx said it might be tough to meet that 350 mark.

“It always becomes a challenge because there are other companies that are looking for seasonal help. So we try to put as many incentives out there as we can to generate interest in working for FedEx Ground,” Youst said.

The numbers for employment rate and job growth in Pennsylvania have not come out yet for September, but a slight increase or decrease is normal. The unemployment rate in central Pennsylvania is lower than the national average.

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