SUNBURY – The Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce are reporting that the economy is good in The Valley despite less than stellar jobs numbers nationally.
Bob Garrett, President and CEO of the chamber says the jobs numbers for The Valley are finally off the ground floor, “We were expecting that folks were beginning to re-enter the labor force. It’s taken a couple of years for the message to get across, but we’re definitely not bouncing along the bottom anymore. We’re starting to get up closer to where we’d like to see it, but we still have lots of room for improvement.”
Garrett says the fact that the number of people entering the workforce has grown each month over the past four or five months is the mark of a good economy, “The number one fuel for our economy is willing and qualified skilled laborers, and they are coming into the labor force, we can see it by the numbers.”
Garrett talks about the stark drop in jobs created in February, “Clearly some sort of an anomaly, the 20,000 (jobs created), that’s 8% of what last month was, things are not that radical. Clearly there’s something wrong with the numbers, because on the other side, the national unemployment rate of 3.8%, almost unheard of in the history of our nation to have an unemployment rate that low.”
Garrett says that the unemployment rate being so low is great, but we’re burying the real headline, and that’s the increase in wage rates, “That went up 3.4%, so wages are now starting to move. We expected this to happen as the labor market constricted. We expected wages to go up. It’s good to see wage rates going up because that’s money in your pocket.”
You can hear the entire conversation with Bob Garrett on the On The Mark podcast page at WKOK.com.