Pennsylvania jobless rate rose slightly in March

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate rose in March for the third straight month, as the number of jobs declined and the ranks of job-seekers increased.

The state Department of Labor and Industry said Friday the 5.3 percent rate was up from 5.2 percent in February, when payrolls hit a record high that offset the last of the job losses from the recession. The national rate for March was 5.5 percent.

A survey of households showed the state’s labor force, the number of people working or looking for work, expanded by 2,000 to nearly 6.4 million people. However, unemployment grew, while employment shrank.

In a separate survey of employers, payrolls fell by nearly 13,000 jobs, wiping out February’s gains.

The largest decreases were in education and health services. Construction showed the biggest gain.

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