The unemployment rate dropped in two area counties and increased in three in November, the state Department of Labor and Industry said.
Huntingdon County saw the biggest decrease, dropping from 9.4 percent in October to 9.2 percent in November.
Huntingdon County's unemployment rate has dropped 1.4 percentage points in the past year, from 10.6 percent in November 2010, which is pleasing to Huntingdon County Business & Industry officials.
"We attribute some of the drop to the success of our local CareerLink and the work it's been doing over the last two years to assist dislocated workers with new skill training for in demand fields. We're also seeing small-business owners gain confidence in doing capital-improvement projects and hiring one and two employees here and there," HCBI Executive Director Amy Wise said. "We are excited to be a partner in assisting the small business and entrepreneurship communities grow."
The jobless rate also decreased in Clearfield County, falling from 8.5 percent in October to 8.4 percent in November, the department said.
The unemployment rate in Centre County held steady at 5.3 percent in November. Centre County maintains the lowest jobless rate of Pennsylvania's 67 counties, while Cameron County has the highest rate at 11.4 percent.
The unemployment rate increased in Cambria, Blair and Bedford counties.
Cambria County's rate increased from 8.2 percent in October to 8.4 percent in November. However, over the year, the county's rate was down nine-tenths of a percentage point.
Blair County's jobless rate increased from 6.8 percent in October to 6.9 percent in November and remains well below Pennsylvania's unemployment rate, which fell two-tenths of a percentage point to 7.9 percent in November and the national rate which was down four-tenths of a percentage point to 8.6 percent.
Over the year, both the Blair County rate and Pennsylvania's rate were down six-tenths of a percentage point, while the national rate was down 1.2 percentage points in the same period.
In Bedford County, the unemployment rate increased from 9.2 percent in October to 9.3 percent in November.
Joe Hurd, Blair County Chamber of Commerce president and chief executive officer, is optimistic about the year ahead.
"Employers are telling us there are jobs in our county and a lot are good jobs. When people exhaust their benefits, the majority are trying to get back into the workforce and finding the opportunities are fairly abundant," Hurd said. "I think we are in pretty good shape. With businesses adding more jobs and the economy getting a little better, our job market has remained fairly healthy."
Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.