In the state

Road work continues in parts of Mifflin County

LEWISTOWN — Road work continues in Mifflin County as part of a $4 million contract to improve ride quality and extend the life of roadway surfaces.

In a press release, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reports new paving work will begin Sept. 18 and continue through Sept. 22.

Crews will pave Route 1005, North Logan Boulevard, near the Freedom Avenue intersection in Burnham through Yeagertown and to the Tea Creek Bridge in Reedsville.

The work will affect parking in Yeagertown and Reedsville. “No Parking” signs will be in place where necessary.

Turnpike removing call boxes due to cellphones

HARRISBURG (AP) — The Pennsylvania Turnpike has begun removing more than 1,000 emergency roadside call boxes because too few people use them now that nearly everyone has a cellphone.

The turnpike commission says it will save about $250,000 a year by removing the boxes, which should be gone by the end of the month.

The boxes were installed in 1988 and in the year 2,000 motorists used them more than 18,000 times to call for help. Last year, the boxes were only used 772 times.

The turnpike’s chief operating officer, Craig Shuey, says cellphones are safer, too, because motorists can remain in their vehicles while calling for help, instead of standing along the side of the road as traffic passes.

Unemployment, payrolls and labor force down

HARRISBURG (AP) — Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate crept downward in July, even as payrolls and the labor force shrank.

The state Department of Labor and Industry said Friday that Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate was 4.9 percent last month, down one-tenth of a percentage point. The national rate moved up slightly in August to 4.4 percent.

A survey of households survey found that Pennsylvania’s civilian labor force, employment and unemployment all shrank in August for the second straight month.

A separate survey of employers showed seasonally adjusted non-farm payrolls shrank by 8,000 from a record high in July, remaining above 5.95 million. The tourism, manufacturing and construction sectors reported growth, while government, education and health sectors reported shrinking the most.