August Unemployment Numbers Show An Upward Trend

Sep 21, 2012

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate jumped to 8.1% in August, up from July’s 7.9 figure.

The 8.1% matches the national rate but Scott Meckley, Industry and Business Analyst for the Department of Labor and Industry, said  the commonwealth's jobless rate has been below the U.S. rate for  for 51 consecutive months.

Although to finally be trending up is attention grabbing, the Pennsylvania rate and National rate have always moved in concert with each other and have been roughly the same, according to Meckley.

The 51 month stretch began in April 2008, which Meckley says is due in part to other regions of the country that were affected more by the recession than Pennsylvania was.

“The southwestern and southeastern parts of the United States were impacted by Hurricane Katrina and the “Housing Bubble” – that’s why the U.S. rate went up so much. Now the U.S. rate is trending downward and it kind of makes sense that the U.S. rate would trend downward faster than Pennsylvania’s because there are other states in the country that really had more to recover from,” Meckley said.

The number of those employed was down 1,200 in August, which was the fifth consecutive month Pennsylvania has lost jobs.

“Where those declines were, they’re kind of all over the place: construction showed an unusual drop this month, government jobs continue to be down over the year; but when you’re talking about five straight months in a row of the job count dropping, coupled with three straight months of an increased unemployment rate, there does seem to be a correlation there,” Meckley said.

Pennsylvania’s rate has increased three months in a row, but the surrounding states have also shown increases.

“New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and West Virginia, their unemployment rates have been trending upward as well. The national rate has steadied, or has declined in the past month; but again, that’s because there are other parts of the county that were impacted heavier by the recession, and are recovering now when Pennsylvania has been trending upward a little bit,” said Meckley.