PA Unemployment Rate Unchanged; Work Towards Economic Recovery Continues

Rendell Urges Congress to Extend Economic Help for Unemployed Americans

Harrisburg – Pennsylvania’s economy – like that of the rest of the nation –continues to struggle toward economic recovery, Governor Edward G. Rendell said today, noting that June’s mixed jobs report is further proof that Congress must act immediately to extend unemployment benefits for Americans searching for jobs.

“Right now, unemployed Americans need two things: jobs that pay a family-sustaining wage, and a Congress that does its job,” Governor Rendell said.

“Last month in Pennsylvania, we added 5,400 professional and business services jobs to the economy – the second-largest over-the-month gain seen in four years. The leisure and hospitality job sector grew to a record high of 507,400 jobs,” the Governor said, noting that private sector businesses in Pennsylvania added 54,700 jobs over the last four months.

“Overall, we’ve added 64,200 jobs since the beginning of the year. That’s a stark contrast to 2009, when we lost 143,300 jobs in the first six months of the year.”

Pennsylvania’s June unemployment rate2, which held steady at 9.2 percent, remains below the national rate. It marked the 87th month out of 90 that the state’s jobless rate has been at or below the national level.

“These are good signs, but with the loss of 6,300 nonfarm jobs1 in June — largely due to the phasing out of temporary Census jobs — and nearly 600,000 Pennsylvanians still looking for work, we clearly have a lot more work to do,” the Governor said.

“The most challenging economy since the Great Depression has put an extraordinary number of Pennsylvanians out of work. It has prolonged the search for suitable employment to a point beyond the 26 weeks of unemployment compensation that our system was built to provide.”

Unless the U.S. Senate acts on legislation to restore emergency benefits, by the end of July, 240,000 Pennsylvanians will be left without this important financial safety net that they paid into while working. By the end of the year, 429,000 Pennsylvanians would lose extended benefits.

“Senators Casey and Specter understand the challenges Pennsylvanians are facing, and their support for extending the temporary benefits needed by so many people looking for jobs is appreciated,” said Governor Rendell.

“Still, as an indecisive Congress plays politics, millions of Americans are forced to make hard choices every day: feed the family or pay the bills; pay the rent or clothe the kids.”

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