July a job-losing month for Pennsylvania

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Employment numbers in Pennsylvania continued to be volatile with June's huge job gains revised downward and July coming in as a job-losing month.

In July, the state's Bureau of Labor and Industry reported that Pennsylvania gained 19,100 jobs in June, a figure the state has since revised to 13,100. On Friday, in the report on July employment, the state reported that the number of jobs fell last month by 1,700.

Also, while the national unemployment rate fell to 7.4 percent in July from June's rate of 7.6 percent, the state's unemployment rate has remained unchanged at 7.5 percent since May.

"The take-away is monthly numbers are all over the place, so you have to look for patterns, you have to look over three months or a year," said Mark Price, a labor economist with the Keystone Research Center in Harrisburg.

He said that over the past year, the state has been adding 2,300 jobs a month, but -- while the state was gaining jobs at the rate of 3,700 over the fall and winter -- it was down to 900 a month over the last six months, even with the gain in June.

Looking at the employment report for July and the revisions to the June numbers, Mr. Price said, "There's nothing really positive to say."

A survey of the population showed that the state is essentially stalled in the recovery from the Great Recession. Unemployment is down six-tenths of a percent from July 2012, but the rate has been the same for the past three months.

The state also has not regained the jobs lost during the Great Recession.

In July 2008, when the country was sliding into recession, Pennsylvania had 57,900 more jobs than it had last month even as the commonwealth has added 27,600 jobs since July 2012.

Government jobs make up 65.8 percent of the jobs that have not been replaced since the recession. In July 2008, Pennsylvania had 38,100 more government jobs than it had in July of this year. This past July reflected a cut of 5,700 government jobs from June and 9,200 fewer jobs than July 2012.

Private employment in July grew by 4,000 jobs from June.

The employment sector that logged the biggest month-over-month gains in the state was leisure and hospitality, which often adds jobs in the summer. But that sector also showed a year-over-year gain of 16,200 jobs.

The employment sector that is called "other services" -- a catchall that includes hair dressers and dog groomers, repair and maintenance jobs and laundry services -- lost 4,900 jobs from June to July and was down 1,200 jobs from July 2012.


Ann Belser: abelser@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1699.


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