A new study by the Pennsylvania Economy League finds the environment for businesses in the state has improved in some areas over the last four years.

The study, entitled "The Competitive Position of Pennsylvania Businesses," compares the state to 16 other states in 57 categories, including human resources, tax and spending, social and economic policy, and quality of life issues.

In 24 areas the state's position was rated higher than in a similar 1988 study. In 17 areas the rating fell, and in 16 it remained the same.

One category that the group said needs improvement is tax policy. Data from 1990, gathered before large tax increases in 1991, nonetheless show business taxes in Pennsylvania are high compared to the other states in the study.

Pennsylvania's unemployment compensation program was found to be the second most generous in the sample group, with the maximum weekly benefit at 43.3% of weekly wages.

However, the league noted that the state's unemployment compensation fund has a positive cash balance, after being fully depleted during the mid-1980s.

The study also says that only two sample states, Massachusetts and Illinois, offered higher weekly disability benefits than Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania's ratings were above average in 29 categories. Its highway system, for example, was praised as among "the best in the country, and state and local governments were said to be conservative spenders. The state also employs fewer public workers per capita than any other, the study says.

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