State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Update: PA jobless rate still higher than national rate

Written by Mary Wilson, Capitol Bureau Chief | Jan 21, 2013 5:33 PM
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Note: This post has been edited since it was first published. to reflect that the unemployment rate increased in December from November 2012. 

Pennsylvania added jobs for the fourth time in a row last month, but its unemployment rate is still hovering just above the national average.

The commonwealth’s unemployment rate was 7.9 percent in December -- an increase of a tenth of a percent from the November numbers.

The monthly figure is still slightly higher than the national unemployment rate, which was 7.8 percent in December.

The state’s jobless rate has been above the national average since September.

The Department of Labor and Industry reports the number of people entering the workforce, who don’t necessarily find jobs, is at a record high of roughly 6.6 million people, after having seen four consecutive months of record levels.

The largest jobs increase from November to December came from the construction industry, which added more than 4,000 jobs.

Two months ago, the drop in the commonwealth’s unemployment rate was the largest decline since the 1980s. But that was coupled with a drop in the national unemployment rate as well, which many economists have attributed to the larger number of people leaving the workforce across the country.

A full release from DL&I is below:

Harrisburg – Pennsylvania’s civilian labor force was up by 17,000 in December to a new record high of 6,559,000. This is the fourth consecutive month of a record labor force level.

“The increase in the civilian labor force in December is a good sign for the state’s continued recovery from the recession,” Labor & Industry Secretary Julia Hearthway said.

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate was 7.9 percent in December.

The total jobs count in Pennsylvania came to 5,751,500. The largest increase from November was a gain of 4,400 in construction jobs. More than 100,000 private-sector jobs have been added to the Pennsylvania economy since Governor Corbett took office in January 2011.

NOTE: The above data are seasonally adjusted. Seasonally adjusted data provide the most valid month-to-month comparison.

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