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State jobless rate sinks lower

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At a time when companies already are struggling to find workers, Pennsylvania's labor market just got a little tighter.

The state unemployment rate dropped to 4.5 percent in May, the second monthly decrease in a row, according to the Department of Labor & Industry.

The rate had been holding steady at 4.8 percent for 10 months before dropping to 4.7 percent in April. Even after the latest decline, however, the state's unemployment rate remains higher than the national rate of 3.8 percent.

The number of unemployed people in Pennsylvania was 283,000 in May, down from 298,000 in April, according to the state.

The estimated number of jobs, referred to as total nonfarm jobs, was up 2,300 from April to 6,014,400. But the record was mixed depending on industry. The job count was up in seven of 11 industry categories. 

The biggest gains came in construction, which added 1,900 jobs. That was offset by a decline of 1,900 in education and health services.

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Write to the Editorial Department at editorial@cpbj.com

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