Jobless rate in Pa. creeps up to 8.1%
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After spending four years and three months with a better unemployment rate than the rest of the nation, Pennsylvania lost ground in August, matching the national unemployment rate at 8.1 percent.
The state experienced a two-tenths of a percentage point increase from July's unemployment rate of 7.9 percent.
The rate in August, released Thursday afternoon by the state Department of Labor and Industry, shows that unemployment climbed seven-tenths of a percentage point in the last three months from the post-recession low of 7.4 percent in March and April of this year.
The rate for this August was as high as it was in August 2011.
While in other months the unemployment rate has risen because people have reentered the workforce, that was not the case last month. The state figures, which are seasonally-adjusted, showed that 19,000 fewer people reported having a job in August than in July and 16,000 more people were listed as unemployed. Another 3,000 workers dropped out of the labor force during the month.
The unemployment rate is determined by a survey of households.
A second survey, one that polls employers, also showed a weakening economy, but the results were not as dire as in the household survey.
In August, according to the survey of employers, there were 1,200 fewer jobs than in July. Mining and logging jobs, which includes gas drilling, were down by 400; construction jobs declined by 3,300; and trade, transportation and utilities, which includes retail and wholesale stores and the shipping and storing for those businesses, lost 2,300 jobs.
There were a couple of brighter spots.
Leisure and hospitality, which includes bars and restaurants, added 2,200 jobs; education and health services, which encompasses hospitals, doctors offices and private schools, but not public schools, added 1,300 jobs in August. That so-called "Meds and Eds" sector now employs 12,200 fewer people than in August 2011. Professional and business services added 1,900 jobs during the month, increasing employment by 11,300 over the year.
Manufacturers in the state also added 1,600 jobs to their payrolls, up 5,400 over August 2011.
Government in the state cut 100 jobs, down by 12,900 jobs since last August.
First Published September 21, 2012 12:00 am