Pennsylvania jobless rate rose in August to 7.7 percent
By Thomas Olson
Published: Friday, Sept. 20, 2013, 11:55 a.m.
The state unemployment rate increased to 7.7 percent in August, the first time the jobless rate had increased since January, despite a gain of 11,300 jobs that signaled employers are continuing to hire.
Economists called the data released Friday from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics a mixed report that did not foreshadow a downturn in the state's economy.
The negative side of the report was drawn from the bureau's resident survey. Those who said they were working fell by 26,000 last month to about 6 million, while those who said they were unemployed rose by 9,000 to 501,000.
As a result, the jobless rate rose to 7.7 percent from 7.5 percent in July but was healthier than the 8.1 percent rate in August 2012.
But the household survey tends to be “more volatile” than the survey of employers, who said they hired 11,300 people in July, said Gus Faucher, senior economist at PNC Financial Services Group.
“So it could be this will reverse in September,” he said. “I expect that the unemployment rate will gradually decline over the next couple of years.”
The increase in the state's jobless rate contrasted with the country's unemployment rate, which declined to 7.3 percent in August from 7.4 percent in July.
In the seven-county Pittsburgh region, unemployment was 6.7 percent in July, as the region added 3,300 jobs, according to the latest data. The jobless rate for the region has been lower than the state and national rates all year.
Mark Price, a labor economist for the Keystone Research Center in Harrisburg, said the August report was probably a “temporary hiccup.” The number of unemployed state residents fell significantly most months this year but rose in August, which Price called “an aberration.”
“I wouldn't be surprised if a decline in unemployment returned,” Price said. “There's no reason to think the economy is not going to grow in Pennsylvania in the months ahead.”
The 11,300 new jobs in August, which Price called a “very healthy” gain, mainly centered in service industries, such as leisure and hospitality and trade, transportation and utilities. It included 1,800 new jobs in construction and 2,100 government jobs. Manufacturing lost 200 jobs, and mining and logging lost 1,000 jobs.
The size of Pennsylvania's labor force — those either working or actively looking for a job — declined by 17,000 to about 6.5 million. The decline generally indicates unemployed people lack confidence they could find work.
When people stop looking for a job, they are no longer counted as part of the labor force, which artificially lowers the unemployment rate.
Thomas Olson is a Trib Total Media staff writer. He can be reached at 412-320-7854 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kovacevic: Got proof on Tomlin? Let’s hear it
- Ex-Penguins winger Kennedy ‘emotional’ about return
- Ex-Steeler WR Wallace: It was a ‘challenge’ for Haley to use me
- Schmotzer resigns high-paid administrative job with Baldwin-Whitehall
- Dozens of workers strike outside Downtown fast-food locations
- Film about former Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis in prestigious festival
- Pirates’ Snider talks about surgery, rebuilding swing
- Penguins notebook: Sill thrives on penalty kill
- Steelers coach Tomlin fined $100K by NFL
- Worker finds man’s body in Monessen
- Personality Test: Paul Chryst