The unemployment rate increased in all six area counties in May, the state Department of Labor and Industry said.
The biggest increase was in Bedford County, where the unemployment rate increased from 8.8 percent in April to 9.6 percent in May, the department said.
"The labor force is a lot smaller, so the volatility in the unemployment rate is a lot higher. Unemployment only went up by about 100 people," said Chris Magaro, DLI industry and business analyst.
"Any upward increase is not good," said Bette Slayton, Bedford County Development Association executive director. "When dealing with a small labor population, even a small change is significant in terms of percentages."
The unemployment rate in Blair County increased from 6.4 percent in April to 6.6 percent in May.
"We have seen the labor force grow a little bit more than was expected. The April figures were lower than expected," Magaro said. "With more people seeking jobs, the unemployment rate goes up."
In May, seasonally adjusted total non-farm jobs in the county increased by 500, the second straight monthly increase. Blair County's jobs are up 800 from May 2010, the department said.
Blair County's rate remains below the Pennsylvania rate of 7.4 percent and the national rate of 9.1 percent.
The unemployment rate increased by one tenth of a percent in Centre, Cambria, Clearfield and Huntingdon counties.
Centre County's unemployment rate increased from 5.4 percent in April to 5.5 percent in May, but the unemployment rate for the county is down eight-tenths of a percent over the year.
Centre regained its standing as having the lowest jobless rate in the state. Cameron County has the highest rate at 10.4 percent.
The unemployment rate in Cambria County increased from 8.1 percent in April to 8.2 percent in May.
Over the year, the county's jobless rate has declined 1.3 percentage points. Seasonally adjusted non-farm jobs decreased 200 in May, the first over-the-month decrease since September. Over the year, jobs in the county are up 1,300.
Elsewhere, the unemployment rate in Clearfield County increased from 8.5 percent in April to 8.6 percent in May, and in Huntingdon County, the jobless rate increased from 9.1 percent in April to 9.2 percent in May, the department said.
Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.