By Justin Strawser

December ended 2012 with the highest unemployment rate of the year, and included the largest one-month change, according to the state the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI).

DLI reported Monday that December's unemployment rate was 9.5 percent, up .7 percent from November's rate of 8.8 percent.

The last time the unemployment rate for the county was this high was two years ago in December 2010. A year ago in December 2011, the rate was 8.9 percent; three years ago it was 10.4 percent in December 2009; and four years ago it was 8.8 percent in December 2008.

The lowest rate of 2012 was in March at 8 percent, at which point it slowly increased to 8.8 percent in November, and then jumped in December to the current rate.

The county unemployment rate is above both the seasonably adjusted rates of 7.8 percent nationally and 7.9 percent statewide.

Jobless rates in neighboring counties are Montour, 6.4 percent; Juniata, 7.6 percent; Perry, 7.9 percent; Dauphin, 8 percent; Columbia, 8.1 percent; Snyder, 8.1 percent; Union, 8.1 percent; Lycoming, 8.2 percent; and Schuylkill, 9.7 percent.

Every one of these neighboring counties increased in the unemployment rate. The largest change was Snyder County, which jumped .8 percent from 7.3 to 8.1. The lowest change of the neighboring counties was Lycoming, which increased from 8.1 to 8.2 percent.

Centre County, at 5.7 percent, has the lowest jobless rate in Pennsylvania. Cameron County, at 12 percent, has the highest.

There are only seven counties in the state at or above a rate of 10 percent.

2012 unemployment rates:

Jan.: 8.4 Feb.: 8.3 March: 8 April: 8,5 May: 8.4 June: 8.7 July: 8.9 Aug: 9 Sept.: 8.7 Oct.: 8.8

Nov.: 8.8

Dec.: 9.5