Pennsylvania now has the country’s highest unemployment claim rate.
An estimated 43,602 unemployment claims were filed in Pennsylvania last week.
That's down about 13% from the week before according to the US Department of Labor, but economic leaders in Pike County believe its still not enough.
Pike County Economic Development Director, Mike Sullivan’s, deeply concerned with the state’s alarming unemployment numbers.
“It’s very worrisome and I think there is a couple of reasons for it. “
Sullivan points the finger at the states overwhelming dependency on tourism compared to the rest of the country.
“In the United States 11 percent of the country is made up of the hospitality industry and in Pike County alone that number is 22 percent. “
Even more distressing, the majority of people unemployed work in the hospitality industry.
“The number one industry in the United States is hospitality so it’s really taking it heavily. “
Sullivan fears it’s going to take time to turn things around, with many still apprehensive to venture out during the pandemic.
“Research is telling us that even if all restrictions were lifted there are still people who wouldn’t go out to eat, wouldn’t go to a concert, sporting event and certainly wouldn’t go to a movie house. “
But there is a glimmer of hope
“Every single day this visitors center is getting more and more people. “
Tammy Saverse, of the Pike Chamber of Commerce, explains in recent weeks the visitor center in Pike County has seen nearly a 30 percent increase in people coming through their doors.
“If they are coming here that gives me hope that they are also going to a lot of our other local businesses. “
And if these numbers are any indicator, Savarese is confident the industry will rebound sooner than expected.
“If the numbers stay this way I think we are going to break records here at the visitors center. "