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Economy & Business

PA Unemployment up, Workforce Also Grows

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate crept up a tenth of a percent in December but the state says it’s not as bad as it might seem.  Pennsylvania posted a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate today of 7.9% for December of 2012.

The number is a .1 percent above the national average and .2 percent above the rates seen in Pennsylvania in December 2011. 

However, the rate obscures the fact that the number of jobs in Pennsylvania grew from November to December by nearly 12,000.  The unemployment rate increased because the work force also grew more than 16,000. 

“We’re on the right track,” said Bureau of Labor Statistics mid-Atlantic Region economist Kara Markley.  “The labor force is increasing because people are getting back out there looking for work.”

Markley said its seems that many of the new members of the workforce were individuals who had given up looking for work but now feel it is time to re-enter the market.

Pennsylvania’s labor force of 6,559,000 in December set a record for the state. 

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

The largest industry sector increase from November was a gain of 4,400 in construction jobs.