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New Figures Show Pa. Lagging Behind US in Jobless Recovery

(US labor secretary Hilda Solis, in file photo.  Credit: Kevork Djansezian/ Getty Images)

(US labor secretary Hilda Solis, in file photo. Credit: Kevork Djansezian/ Getty Images)

Michelle Durham Michelle Durham
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By Michelle Durham

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The US Labor Department today released the national unemployment numbers for the month of September.  The number of the nation’s jobless fell, but the number of Pennsylvanians still seeking employment went up.

“This is the first time that we’ve seen the unemployment rate go down — to 7.8 percent,” US labor secretary Hilda Solis told KYW Newsradio today.  “We haven’t seen it that low since 2009. We’ve seen an increase in jobs, and we now have 5.2 million private sector jobs created.”

She says that in the last two months 86,000 jobs were added, according to July and August reports.

But in Pennsylvania, the number of jobless actually rose.

Scott Meckle, labor and business analyst for the Pennsylvania Department of Labor, looked at August’s numbers, the latest available.

“Now that we’re in recovery mode,” he says, “it’s logical that the US rate is going to drop more than the Pennsylvania rate, because the US rate had more to recover from.”

But he does note that it’s unusual for Pennsylvania’s numbers not to reflect the national figures.

New Jersey added 5,300 jobs in August.

As for how the economy is doing now, Secretary Solis says, “We had a very sick patient.  Now you see the patient getting better.  But are we completely through? No, we still have more to do.”

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