The unemployment rate dropped in all six area counties in January, the state Department of Labor and Industry said.
The jobless rate dropped 0.8 percent in Bedford County to 9.9 percent in January. The unemployment rate in Blair County dropped from 7.4 percent to 6.7 percent in January; the county's jobless rate is down 1.3 percent from January 2010.
The state rate was at 8.2 percent for January and the national rate was at 9.0 percent.
Scott Meckley, a Labor Department industry and business analyst, said there are a couple of reasons behind the significant drop.
"The economy is getting better, and more people are becoming employed," Meckley said. "The figures also are impacted because the seasonally adjusted figures are still being updated."
Once the seasonally adjusted figures are updated, the unemployment figures could swing in the opposite direction in February, Meckley said.
"Certainly there are businesses locally that are adding employees that would affect those numbers," said Joe Hurd, president and CEO of the Blair County Chamber of Commerce. "The fact businesses are adding employees is a very positive thing for our local economy."
The jobless rate also declined by 0.7 percent in Cambria and Centre counties.
Cambria County's rate dropped from 9.2 percent in December to 8.5 percent in January. Cambria County's rate has dropped 1.2 percentage points since January 2010.
The unemployment rate in Centre County dropped from 5.8 percent in December to 5.1 percent in January, which remains the lowest jobless rate among Pennsylvania's 67 counties. Cameron County, at 13.1 percent, continues to have the highest rate.
The unemployment rate in Clearfield County dropped from 10.1 percent in December to 9.5 percent in January while Huntingdon County's unemployment rate dropped from 10.4 percent in December to 10.0 percent in January.
Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.