Pennsylvania unemployment rises again

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The unemployment rate rose in Pennsylvania in August to 7.7 percent from 7.5 percent in July as the number of people who were working dropped by 26,000 from July to August, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The state's unemployment rate for the month was four-tenths of a percentage point above the national rate of 7.3 percent.

Even as the unemployment rate rose and the number of people working fell, the bureau reported that the number of nonfarm jobs in the state was up by 11,300 from July to August.

The numbers are seasonally adjusted to take out seasonal spikes and dips.

"The August jobs report is a mixed bag with some good and some bad news for workers," said Mark Price, an economist for the Harrisburg-based policy research group, Keystone Research Center. "We should have solidly good news from monthly job reports by this point in the economic recovery."

The number of people who were out of work, but still looking for work, rose by 8,800 to more than half of a million people being recognized as officially unemployed in the state, a number that does not include people who have given up looking for work.

The size of the state's labor force, made up of people who are working and those who are looking for a job, fell by 17,200 in August, according to the numbers released Friday morning by the bureau.

The unemployment rate had held steady at 7.5 percent from May through July. That was the lowest it had been since February and March of 2010 in the wake of the Great Recession.

A press release accompanying the report from the State Department of Labor and Industry noted that the unemployment rate had fallen by four-tenths of a percentage point since August 2012 and the labor force was up 19,000 in the same year-over-year comparison with 45,000 more people working and 26,000 fewer people unemployed.

"The overall trends for the state's economy are positive and strong," said Julia Hearthway, the secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

In August 2012, both the state and the nation had unemployment rates of 8.1 percent. A year later, while the rest of the nation continued to fall from July's 7.4 percent to 7.3 percent, the state's unemployment rate rose from 7.5 percent to 7.7 percent.

While workers reported losing jobs during the month, employers reported that they had added to payrolls, which were up 11,300 for the month and 39,100 for the year.

The biggest job gains were seen in leisure and hospitality, which added 2,800 jobs for the month and 15,400 more jobs than in August 2012; trade transportation and utilities, which added 2,600 jobs in August but was down by 7,500 from August 2012; and government, which added 2,100 jobs last month but was down by 5,300 jobs from a year ago.

Mining and logging lost 1,000 jobs over the month and was down by 900 jobs from last year. Manufacturing was down by 200 jobs for the month and was even for jobs from a year ago.


Ann Belser: or 412-263-1699.


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