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Group: Overall Unemployment Rate in PA Likely to Rise

December 22, 2008

Pennsylvania's employment picture is clearer than the rest of the country during this failing economy, according to experts, but some say that's nothing to brag about. Mark Price, a labor economist with the Keystone Research Center, says Pennsylvania lost 24,000 jobs just this month, while the state unemployment rate stands at 5.8 percent. That's about one percent less than the national average. Price says this recession could have long-term effects in Pennsylvania.

"We are projecting, that if this recession is like the past two, unemployment would peak in Pennsylvania around 6.7 percent in 2010. That's a pretty scary number, that it takes that long for the labor market to work out."

Pennsylvania is better off than states like California, Florida, or Michigan, says Price. Those states will likely see unemployment rates in the double digits within the next year.

"That's gonna provide very little comfort to most Pennsylvanians, because we are going to be hit by the recession to some degree. The hit will come in the form of paychecks that grow more slowly, and lose ground against rising prices. We're better off, but that's not much comfort."

Price expects the unemployment rate to go even higher, a major concern even for those who don't lose their jobs, since rising unemployment can affect wage and income growth for everyone.

Kelly Glorioso Fodel, Public News Service - PA