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May unemployment rate in Pennsylvania dips to 6.9%

(By Christen Smith | The Center Square) – Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.9% in May, according to the Department of Labor and Industry. 

The state released the updated data Friday. It showed Pennsylvania’s jobless numbers still outpace the national unemployment rate of 5.8%. 

Total nonfarm jobs increased by 18,500 month over month, while the hospitality sector reported a gain of 187,000 jobs compared with May 2020. Employment across all 11 “supersectors” still trails prepandemic levels, the department said.

Weekly unemployment claims spiked nationally for the week ending June 12 after several weeks of steady declines. California, Pennsylvania and Illinois were the three states with the highest amount of claims.  

The increase coincided with the state’s newly launched unemployment claims system. The department said more than 400,000 residents, including 40,000 new claimants, have used the new website since June 8 to file for benefits.

“These numbers are consistent with the amount of weekly claims and new claims we were seeing filed on the old system, so the majority of individuals are successfully able to log in and file using the new system,” acting Department of Labor and Industry Secretary Jennifer Berrier said. “We are still investigating feedback we receive and are no longer finding IT issues with our system that are preventing individuals from filing.”

Some residents experienced glitches when filing on the new system that Berrier said the department has worked to correct, including an error that questioned claimants about work search activities. The state suspended the mandate until July 18.

“If individuals are still encountering what they believe to be technical errors, we would like to hear from them so we can look further into what’s happening,” Berrier said.

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