Pennsylvania offers a varied range of jobs in many industries distributed across the State. When it comes to employment, PA State figures among the top employment states in the country. While it offers millions of jobs, PA unemployment rate generally keeps pace with nation's employment rates and in some business cycles, it suffers the worst. This guide explains how to file for unemployment in the state and also covers the eligibility criteria.

As with any other state, PA has some stringent unemployment laws that require you to meet certain criteria in order to receive the benefits. First and foremost, you must have lost job through no fault of your own. Even if you quit the job because you have a long commute or because of low pay, you are generally not qualified. If you are planning to quit, make sure you understand this fact. There are some extraordinary situations such as having hostile work environment in which case you may get the UI if you are able to prove it so.

Second criterion is that you must be healthy and able to work. If you have physical hardship, then you may not eligible and if you have disability insurance you should contact your insurance provider to receive any compensation. You are also required to actively look for work even though you are not getting favorable responses. If you need more details on this, refer to PA unemployment benefits guide

The State also requires you to earn certain number wage credits during the base period. Pennsylvania requires at least 16 weeks of covered employment (employer must have paid unemployment taxes on your behalf)

You may be ineligible for benefits if you participate in a work stoppage that is determined by the Department to be a strike.

If you have any questions or do not understand any part of a determination, please feel free to contact the UC Service Center to request an explanation of your determination. For example, if you do not understand the provision of the Law, or if there are findings of fact that you question, you may contact the UC Service Center for an explanation.

You may be ineligible for benefits if you fail to be available to be contacted by the UC Service Center when instructed to do so. It is your responsibility to inform the UC Service Center when you are unavailable for scheduled services. When you know that you will be unavailable to be contacted at the scheduled time, call the UC Service Center immediately.

You may be ineligible for benefits if you fail to participate in reemployment services to which you have been referred through the claimant profiling system. The claimant profiling system has been designed to identify claimants who may benefit the most from reemployment services. If selected, you must participate in this mandatory program of reemployment services.

If you have met all the eligibility criteria, then you can prepare the paperwork to file the application. Although you can file by mail or phone, online application the fastest and most accurate method to apply for benefits. Prepare and submit your application online at

If you choose to file over phone, call the unemployment compensation services toll-free number at 1-888-313-7284 , Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and Sundays 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. If your Social Security number ends in an even number, call on Sunday, Tuesday or Thursday. If it ends in an odd number, call on Monday, Wednesday or Friday.

Pennsylvania Unemployment figures as of November 2009:

Pennsylvania's seasonally adjusted civilian labor force –– the number of people working or looking for work –– decreased by 12,000 in November to 6,328,000. Resident unemployment dropped 22,000 in November, while employment was up 10,000. The Pennsylvania labor force was down 105,000 over the year. Pennsylvania's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent in November, down four-tenths of a percentage point from the revised October rate of 8.9 percent – the first drop in the state unemployment rate since March 2007. Pennsylvania remained below the United States' unemployment rate, which fell two-tenths of a percentage point to 10 percent in November. Pennsylvania's rate was up 2.4 percentage points from November 2008, while the U.S. rate was up 3.2 percentage points over the year.

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