National Weakness in Economy Spreads to PA in August

Sean Brandon, InternBy Sean Brandon, Intern

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate rose to 8.2% in August but remains below the 9.1% national rate. Pennsylvania has been below the U.S. unemployment rate for 40 consecutive months, and at or below the U.S. rate for 58 consecutive months. This trend is in jeopardy, however, as Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate has risen eight-tenths of one percentage point since May.

Government and Information industries performed very poorly in August, while the Manufacturing and Professional and Business Services sectors showed employment growth. In the last two years, Pennsylvania saw the third highest rate of job growth out of the 50 states by volume and the 11th highest in percentage terms.

However, Pennsylvania’s jobs deficit, or the difference between the number of jobs the state has and the number it needs to regain its pre-recession employment rate, is 240,700. That number includes the 126,000 jobs Pennsylvania lost plus the 114,700 jobs it needs to keep up with the 2% growth in population that has occurred in the 44 months since the recession began. Pennsylvania, like the rest of the nation, needs a jobs plan to meet the vast challenges our economy currently faces.

Sean Brandon served as an intern with the Keystone Research Center and Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center in 2010 and 2011. Read Sean's bio.

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