The unemployment rate in Pennsylvania peaked at 8.8% in April 2010 before steadily declining to 7.4% in May of this year. Then mounting public-sector job losses pushed unemployment back up to 8.3% this September.
Tuesday’s release of September unemployment data contained some good news in that the unemployment rate fell in September in 60 counties and in every metropolitan area in the state.
The figure below presents unemployment rates from April to September of this year in 16 metropolitan areas. As you can see, the good news of a sizable one-month decline in unemployment is tempered by the fact that unemployment in September remained higher than its April lows in every metropolitan area.
As I noted Tuesday morning, September’s good news on unemployment will be temporary if layoffs continue to outpace new job openings.
And on that front, The Central Pennsylvania Business Journal reported on Tuesday that an index (PDF) published by the Philadelphia Federal Reserve, which predicts economic conditions over the next six months, is signaling that the Pennsylvania economy will be shrinking through the first quarter of 2012.
Are policymakers seeing this?