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National jobless rate rises in July to 5.7%, highest rate since

August 24, 2008|By ARNOLD S. PLATOU

Jobless figures for July in Washington County and other counties in the Tri-State area aren't out yet.

In July, the nation's unemployment rate rose to 5.7 percent, based on samples and estimates done for a preliminary report by the U.S. Department of Labor.

The rate is up from the 5.5 percent recorded for June and the 4.7 percent in July 2007.

In fact, according to seasonally adjusted data from the department's Bureau of Labor Statistics, the latest rate is the nation's highest since it hit 5.8 percent in March 2004.

In Maryland, July's rate climbed to 4.4 percent - a 0.4 percentage poing gain over June's. And in Pennsylvania, it increased to 5.4 percent - a 0.2 percentage poin gain over June's, according to preliminary figures.

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But in West Virginia, the jobless picture improved significantly last month, the department said. The state's unemployment rate fell to 4.5 percent in July, compared with June's 5.3 percent.

The reason is not immediately clear.

In West Virginia, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, employment in construction held steady from June to July, whereas it fell in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Employment in the financial activities sector was steady in West Virginia and up a bit in Pennsylvania, but down in Maryland.

And while West Virginia's employment by government was down from June, it was up slightly in Pennsylvania and up more strongly in Maryland.

In all three states, employment was down a bit in both the manufacturing sector and the trade, transportation and utility sector. In all three states, the number of jobs increased in the areas of education and health services, leisure and hospitality, and professional and business services.

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