Pa. Jobs Picture Headed in Wrong Direction

I will be back with a more complete breakdown of today's Pennsylvania job numbers, but here is my quick take.

For several months now, Pennsylvania's jobs picture has been headed in the wrong direction. The state's jobless rate is now essentially unchanged from a year ago, and for the first time since the start of the Great Recession, it exceeded the national rate in September.

State cuts to education and other services cost the state more than 20,000 jobs in 2011, most of them in public schools. State policymakers must make it their highest priority to restore cuts to schools and invest in our future if we are going to build a stronger economy for middle-class families.

Key Facts about the September Jobs Report:

  • Since the start of the recession in December 2007, the unemployment rate has been on average a percentage point below the U.S. unemployment rate, but since May that gap has closed.
  • At 8.2% in September, Pennsylvania's unemployment rate is higher than the U.S. rate of 7.8%, but it is not statistically different from the U.S. unemployment rate. 
  • Total nonfarm payrolls surged in September by 17,800 jobs; on average in the 12 months prior to September, payrolls increased by less than 1,900 jobs a month. 
  • Caution should be observed when interpreting one-month changes in employment and unemployment.
  • Pennsylvania's job growth continues to trail among other states. Between September 2009 and 2010, Pennsylvania ranked 8th among the states in job growth, dropping to 24th between September 2010 and 2011, and 37th between September 2011 and 2012.

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