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Pennsylvania's unemployment rate holds steady at 7.5 percent

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Friday, July 19, 2013, 12:09 p.m.
 

The state turned in sluggish employment growth in June, adding 19,100 jobs and maintaining a 7.5 percent unemployment rate that was unchanged from May.

“We're not going backwards,” said Frank Gamrat, senior economist at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy, Castle Shannon.

“It's growing; it's just not growing as quickly as we would like it to,” he said.

Employment gains were led by the education and health services sector, which added 17,100 jobs across the state last month, according to seasonally adjusted data released Friday by the Department of Labor & Industry.

“Health and education is really toeing the line,” Gamrat said.

Despite those gains, Gamrat called the June numbers a “mixed bag” because goods-producing businesses — in construction, mining and logging, and manufacturing — all experienced declines.

“A lot of the steam we've had in the last couple years seems to have gone out of the machine,” he said.

Goods-producing industries shed 5,600 workers last month, led by a 3,600-job decrease in construction.

The data on jobs come from a survey of employers. A separate survey of households is used to calculate the unemployment rate, which, while unchanged from May, was down from 8 percent in June 2012.

“That's significant. That's some positive in all this,” Gamrat said.

State figures showed 490,000 people were unemployed last month, up from 488,000 the month before.

The national unemployment rate in June was 7.6 percent, unchanged from May, and down from 8.2 percent in June 2012.

Alex Nixon is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at anixon@tribweb.com.

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