- Associated Press - Friday, January 20, 2017

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate dropped in December for the second straight month. But it remained well above the national rate as the labor force contracted and payrolls shrank.

The state Department of Labor and Industry said Friday that Pennsylvania’s jobless rate was 5.6 percent in December. That’s down one-tenth of a percentage point from November. The national rate was 4.7 percent in December.

Hiring remained stagnant, with a survey of employers finding that seasonally adjusted non-farm payrolls shrank by 1,200 in December. That’s slightly below a record high of 5.9 million set earlier this year.

A household survey found that the civilian labor force shrank by 19,000. Employment dropped by 12,000 to remain above 6.1 million while unemployment dropped by 7,000 to 366,000.

Friday’s figures are preliminary and could change.

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