Pennsylvania is hardly in the middle of an economic boom. But it's not in the throes of a dreadful slump.
That's the best way to view the August unemployment numbers for the state.
The unemployment rate rose two-tenths of a percent to 8.1 percent in August, matching the nation's unemployment number.
While figures aren't yet available for particular areas, the unemployment rate for Lycoming County in July stood at 8.5 percent, so we are concerned about what our area's unemployment rate will be for August. The concern is heightened by a leveling off of the gas industry's presence in the area this year.
Pennsylvanians can look with envy at a state such as Virginia, where unemployment is just 5.9 percent. But this isn't Nevada, either, where the unemployment rate is a scary 12.1 percent.
If you are a glass-half-full kind of person, August marked the 70th consecutive month in which the state has either mirrored or been below the national rate.
While employment officials laid part of the unemployment increase at the feet of seasonal changes, with temporary summer jobs being discontinued, we would have guessed that would happen more with the numbers between August and September.
And as with the national employment picture, we also are concerned in the state and region not just with the unemployment percentage but also with the number of people who have given up seeking employment as those do not show as part of the unemployment percentage.
Beyond all these numbers, everyone has their own gut feeling about employment numbers and economic standing for the nation, state and region.
Our gut tells us we are in pre-election, wait-and-see employment mode that will turn on the outcome of the November elections. Where that is concerned, we can only say a continuation of the economic policies of the past four years will not improve employment in our state in the future.