A Pennsylvania bond sale to pay back a nearly $2.8 billion debt to the federal government to cover unemployment compensation benefits saved employers $150 million, according to the Department of Labor and Industry.

“Even with interest rates near an all-time low, this rate is exceptional,” Labor and Industry Secretary Julia Hearthway said in a statement. “Borrowing at this rate is comparable to refinancing a mortgage at a ridiculously low rate. Who wouldn’t want to pay off a mortgage at a 1.29 percent interest rate?”

Before the bond sale, the state paid down the debt to $2.8 billion. The total $3.2 billion in bonds covers that debt, the costs to issue it and benefits through the rest of 2012, which prevents the state having to borrow again. It also includes a $75 million bond reserve.

— J.L.K.