Pennsylvania's unemployment rate fell 0.4 of a percentage point to 8.5 percent in November as the number of jobless people declined, the state Department of Labor and Industry reported today.

The number without jobs was down 22,000 from October to 540,000. That still was well above the 393,000 unemployed in November 2008, when the unemployment rate was 6.1 percent.

The national unemployment rate in November was 10.0 percent.

Total nonfarm jobs in the state fell by 10,200 in November to 5,605,200, the department said. The biggest losses were in professional and business services (down 4,500 jobs), leisure and hospitality (down 3,200) and government (down 3,200).

Education and health services jobs rose (up 3,400 jobs), as did construction (up 1,900).    - Paul Schweizer