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    Dems blame Corbett for rise in Pa. unemployment rate

    Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate rose to 8.2 percent in January. While that’s the highest it’s been since October 2010, economists say the picture isn’t all bad news.

    Democrats say the latest jobs picture is all the proof they need to show the Corbett administration’s policies of providing tax breaks to businesses have failed.

    “Our number is now 8.2 percent and the national average is 7.7 percent,” said Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa. “We are now a full one-half a point above the national average. As you recall, when this administration started, we were about approximately 1.5 percent behind the national average. So now we’ve got a spread of two points.”

    But Scott Meckley, an analyst with the state Department of Labor and Industry, says it’s not as if more people are losing their positions, despite the increase in the jobless rate.

    “The reason that it is rising is partially because people are coming into the labor force, people that weren’t in the labor force before, and they are beginning a job search,” Meckley said.

    Democrats point out that even if the labor force is increasing, the rate of job growth is slowing.

    An economist with the left-leaning Keystone Research Center makes the same point — that a growing job force alone isn’t a sign that everything’s right with the world.

    In Pennsylvania, the number of people embarking on a job search is growing faster than the number of jobs.

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