Pa. sheds 7,000 jobs in Oct.

November 20, 2008 5:57:48 PM PST
Pennsylvanians lost 7,300 nonfarm jobs in October, according to state figures released Thursday, leaving payrolls at the lowest level in 20 months. The state Department of Labor and Industry also said the unemployment rate in Pennsylvania rose one-tenth of a percentage point to 5.8 percent, matching the state's five-year high that it also hit in August.

Gov. Ed Rendell warned that the state's economy could get worse before it improves, and said cuts in state spending to offset a deepening deficit could be painful.

However, he touted hundreds of millions of dollars in new state spending on infrastructure projects like bridges and water and sewer facilities as ways to put people to work, and pressed the federal government to follow suit.

"Now is the time to make infrastructure investments that will support tens of millions of jobs," Rendell said in a statement Thursday. "These are good-paying jobs that put steel and concrete into the ground. They will stimulate our economy now and pay dividends for our economy and society for decades to come."

Generally, Pennsylvania's economy has fared better than the rest of the nation.

The state's jobless rate in October stayed below the national rate for a sixth straight month. The national unemployment rate rose four-tenths of a percentage point to 6.5 percent in October. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania has shed a smaller percentage of its jobs this year than has the rest of the country.

All told, Pennsylvania employers reported slightly above 5.78 million workers on payrolls in October, the lowest number since February 2007, when there were nearly 5.77 million.

October's job losses came primarily from manufacturing and the trade, transportation and utilities sector.

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