Friday, March 4, 2011

PA Jobless Rate Lowest in 20 Months

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate is down. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 8.2 percent in January – that’s the lowest level since June 2009. The rate had held at 8.5% for four straight months.
The Commonwealth gained more than six-thousand nonfarm jobs.
Mark Price, a labor economist with the Keystone Research Center, says he’s encouraged by the news.

"It’s a good number, and it’s a clear sign that the economy is on the path that we’re all expecting it to be, which is recovery. The one downside, of course, though, is that because the recession was so deep, it’s going to take a long time to get back to full employment."

Still, Price is worried the economy could turn south again.

"One: we see rising gas prices. Which is a threat to the overall state of the economy, if that continues for another few months that could slow things. And on top of that, in addition to the federal cuts that are being discussed, we also have rounds of cutbacks in state and local governments. Not just here in Pennsylvania, but also throughout the country."

The unemployment figures were released a few days after February’s state revenue report. Taxes came in under projections last month, but Pennsylvania is still 243 million dollars in the black.That’s about the same size as the deficit the state was facing at this point last year.

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