The unemployment rate dropped in three area counties in February, the state Department of Labor and Industry said.
The biggest drop was in Clearfield County where the unemployment rate dropped from 9.6 percent in January to 9 percent in February, the department said. The county's rate was 10.1 percent in December.
Jobs related to Marcellus Shale are helping to drive down the unemployment rate in the county, said Rob Swales, executive director of the Clearfield County Industrial Development Authority.
"Manufacturing is holding its own in our area and we are seeing it in the secondary services we've picked up from the natural gas industry. We've been talking to metal fabricators and equipment operators and they are keeping us busy," Swales said. "The boom isn't even here yet and that is really good news."
Bedford County's unemployment rate dropped from 9.7 percent in January to 9.2 percent in February while Huntingdon County's jobless rate dropped from 9.7 percent in January to 9.5 percent in February.
The unemployment rate remained unchanged in Blair and Cambria counties.
Blair County's seasonably adjusted rate is 6.6 percent. Blair's jobless rate is 1.5 percent lower than February 2010, the largest over-the-year decline since December 1993.
The local rate remains below the state rate of 8 percent and the national rate of 8.9 percent.
Cambria County's unemployment rate remained at 8.4 percent in February. Over the year, the county's unemployment rate is down 1.3 percent.
Meanwhile, the unemployment rate in Centre County increased from 5.1 percent in January to 5.3 percent in February.
Even though the county's rate is down 1.1 percent over the year, Centre lost its No. 1 ranking of having the state's lowest rate. That now belongs to Bradford County, whose unemployment rate for February was at 5.1 percent.
Cameron County continues to have the highest rate at 12.9 percent.