Experts hopeful as Pa. unemployment holds steady in June

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Pennsylvania's June unemployment rate held steady at last month's 7.5 percent, but the fact that the state added more than 19,000 jobs to the economy since May bodes well for a continued recovery, experts say.

Although goods-producing industries lost about 5,500 jobs last month, service industries made up for that by adding close to 25,000 jobs. Within that sector, leisure and hospitality jobs led the charge with a 1.9-percent increase to 1.19 million jobs in June, and the education and health segment saw a 1.5-percent uptick to 533,200 jobs.

California, whose employment count grew by 30,200 jobs since May, was the only state to see a greater increase in jobs than Pennsylvania.

Mark Price, an economist with the Keystone Research Center in Harrisburg, said the increase is good news as Pennsylvania heads toward economic recovery, although he cautioned against getting accustomed to monthly job gains over 10,000 since previous months have not all seen comparable increases.

"The economy is moving along and it's generating jobs," Mr. Price said. "It's not generating them at a superfast rate, although this month was a very good month."

The number of employed and job-seeking individuals in Pennsylvania grew by 8,000 in June, while the number of working people increased by 7,000 since May.

PNC economist Kurt Rankin said the fact that the unemployment rate didn't budge should not cast doubt on the state's solid path toward recovery. The large number of jobs that employers added to the leisure and hospitality industries is a sign that consumers in the Keystone State are beginning to spend more money than they have in previous months.

"Consumers are spending more, and the state needs consumers to be spending in order to be making more jobs," he said.

Pennsylvania's unemployment rate remains below the national rate of 7.6 percent in June.


Daniel Sisgoreo:, 412-263-1410 or on Twitter @DanielSisgoreo.


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