Pa. unemployment ticks up a bit, still down over past year [graphs]
The rate of unemployment in Pennsylvania rose for the first time in two years in July. A one-tenth of a percentage point rise brought the jobless rate to 5.7 percent last month.
Overall, though, unemployment was down 1.8 percent over last July.
That's good news, says Neeta Fogg, a research professor at Drexel's Center for Labor Markets and Policy. But she adds an asterisk -- the high number of people who stopped looking for work in the past year.
"The employment increase was 39,000 -- the number of employed people -- but the number of people who quit the labor force was 86,000."
Secondly, she said, the slight uptick in unemployment represents a general tapering off of growth, or what she calls "the good news" since April.
She suggests one possibility is that job growth in the spring could have stemmed from pent-up demand during a difficult winter, and trends may be returning to a more gradual increase.
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