Pa. unemployment rate stays above national average

    After years of enjoying a better than average jobless rate, Pennsylvania’s unemployment is above the national average for a second month.


    Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate actually edged down last month, to 8.1 percent, but it wasn’t enough.

    Pennsylvania had done better than the country as a whole during the great recession. Then in September, it edged above the national average for the first time since 2007.

    • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

    Paul Harrington, director of Drexel’s Center for Labor Markets and Policy, says in the past year, the nation has added jobs at three times the pace of Pennsylvania. The national unemployment rate is at 7.9 percent.

    “I think we just have a little more weakness in construction and manufacturing and also in retail than we do in other parts of the country and we have more rapid labor force growth,” he said.

    Nationally, Harrington says firms are tense about the threatened fiscal cliff — automatic budget cuts that could take effect in January if Congress fails to take steps to balance the budget.

    He says that’s led companies to hold off expansions and hiring.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal