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Pa.’s jobless rate jumps as economy slows |
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Pa.’s jobless rate jumps as economy slows

Alex Nixon
| Thursday, August 16, 2012 6:06 p.m

The state’s jobless rate jumped last month to 7.9 percent, three-tenths of a percentage point above June’s rate, as employment dropped and the number of unemployed residents increased.

Those unemployed in the state increased 21,000 to a seasonally adjusted 509,000 in July, as employment dropped by 10,000 and 10,000 new people joined the labor force, the state Department of Labor and Industry said on Thursday.

June’s unemployment rate, originally 7.5 percent, was revised to 7.6 percent. The jobless rate comes from a survey of households.

“The number of unemployed going up 21,000 is a bit of concern,” said Frank Gamrat, economist at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy, a Castle Shannon think tank.

“It shows an economy that’s slipping,” he said.

Meanwhile, a separate survey of businesses showed a drop of 3,100 jobs in July, the state said. On a seasonally adjusted basis there were 5,709,200 total nonfarm jobs in July, down from 5,712,300 in June.

It was the fourth consecutive monthly decline in the jobs count, the state said. The unemployment rate was up for the second straight month.

Despite those trends, Gamrat said the economy continues a slow recovery thanks to a strong business and financial services sector and from mining and manufacturing related to Marcellus shale natural gas production.

“We are better off than we were last year, but the growth is not as robust as it was,” Gamrat said. “Any concerns that the economy statewide is losing ground is probably unfounded.”

Alex Nixon is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7928 or

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