HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania's unemployment rate increased substantially in August as the national economy slowed, jumping by the largest amount in more than two years, the state Department of Labor and Industry said Thursday.
The jobless rate increased from 7.8 percent in July to 8.2 percent, as the number of Pennsylvanians working or looking for work in August increased by 6,000, resident employment fell by 16,000 and the number of unemployed residents rose 22,000 to an estimated 516,000, the department said.
The state's civilian labor force was 6.3 million people.
The last time the state's unemployment rate jumped that much was in February 2009, after the recession began in December 2007. The state's unemployment rate is now at its highest point in seven months, while its post-recession high was 8.8 percent in January 2010. The national rate for August was 9.1 percent.
The number of nonfarm jobs in Pennsylvania crept up by 1,500 in August but remained below 5.7 million. Payrolls topped 5.8 million in parts of 2007 and 2008, before dropping below 5.6 million in parts of 2009 and 2010.
Labor economist Mark Price, of the Harrisburg-based Keystone Research Center, said the weakening national economy is being felt in Pennsylvania, although he noted that manufacturing was one of the healthiest sectors in August and over the past year.
"Still," he said, "the August report demonstrates the dire need for a jobs plan to meet the vast challenges our economy faces."