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Pa. jobless rate rises again, level with US rate

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- Pennsylvania's jobless rate rose again in August, pulling even with the national rate for the first time in six years as hiring continued on a yearlong plateau, according to state data released Thursday.

The state Department of Labor and Industry said the unemployment rate rose to 8.1 percent from 7.9 percent. It was 7.4 percent in May.

August's jump in the jobless rate is the third straight monthly increase after dropping back from the recessionary peak of 8.7 percent in 2010. Since 2006, the state's unemployment rate has been below the national unemployment rate, which dropped to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent in August.

The department said nonfarm payrolls also shrank by about 1,200 in August, leaving the estimated number of jobs in Pennsylvania at slightly over 5.7 million, fewer than the state had in 2005. Payrolls are about the same level as in October 2011, but the number of people working or looking for work has risen by about 100,000 since then.

Pennsylvania payrolls dropped below 5.6 million after the recession began in December 2007 and they remain below the peak of 5.8 million jobs in 2008.