Pennsylvania jobless rate falls to another post-recession low, but hiring remains stagnant

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HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania — Pennsylvania's jobless rate has fallen to another post-recession low even as payrolls remain static and below pre-recession levels, according to employment figures released Friday.

November's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Pennsylvania was 5.1 percent, which is three-tenths of a percentage point lower than the month before, according to the figures from the state Department of Labor and Industry.

It's the second-straight month Pennsylvania's unemployment rate fell by that much. The rate in October was 5.4 percent, and the rate in September was 5.7 percent.

The lowest rate of the past decade in Pennsylvania was 4.2 percent in 2007, while the highest was 8.7 percent in 2010. The U.S. rate is now 5.8 percent.

However, Pennsylvania's payrolls remain below pre-recession levels, while the nation's payrolls surpassed the pre-recession high in May and hit another record high in November.

In a survey of Pennsylvania households, the Department of Labor and Industry estimated that the number of people working or looking for work in November rose by 5,000. Employment rose by 27,000, to creep higher above 6 million, while unemployment fell by 22,000 to 323,000.

A separate survey of Pennsylvania employers found nonfarm payrolls remained flat in November, and the department revised downward some of the job growth that had been reported in October by several thousand jobs. Hiring has been stagnant since June.

At just below 5.8 million jobs in November, payrolls remained about 25,000 jobs below pre-recession levels, according to department figures. Payrolls in manufacturing and construction rose in November, while financial activities and education and health services payrolls fell, according to the figures.

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