Pennsylvania's jobless rate lower; employers added 9,700 jobs in November
By Alex Nixon
Published: Friday, Dec. 20, 2013, 9:51 a.m.
In November, Pennsylvania's unemployment rate ticked down to 7.3 percent and employers generated 9,700 jobs, the state Department of Labor & Industry said on Friday.
On a closer reading, however, the report was not as positive as it appeared, said Frank Gamrat, senior economist for the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy in Castle Shannon.
The seasonally adjusted jobless rate, estimated from a survey of households, dropped two-tenths of a percent from October's rate of 7.5 percent because more people told surveyors that they gave up searching for work. If people are not actively looking for a job, they're not counted as unemployed.
“That's a sign of an economy that's just not going anywhere,” Gamrat said. “That's telling me that people answering the phone are not optimistic at all.”
A separate survey of employers found there were 5.77 million total nonfarm jobs in the state last month, up from 5.76 million in October — a 0.2 percent increase.
“You're seeing no real change,” Gamrat said.
Service-providing industries added 12,100 workers, led by a gain of 8,200 jobs in the trade, transportation and utilities sector. Goods-producing industries dropped 2,400 positions.
Republican Gov. Tom Corbett's re-election campaign released a statement noting that more than 149,000 private-sector jobs have been produced since the governor took office in 2011.
“While the growth is encouraging, Gov. Corbett understands there is still work left to do,” campaign manager Mike Barley said.
Pennsylvania's statistics followed a national trend, as unemployment rates fell or were unchanged in all 50 states in November. Employers added jobs in 43 states and cut jobs in seven.
The national unemployment rate fell to 7 percent last month, a five-year low.
Alex Nixon is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7928 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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