Good News on PA Jobs But Challenges Remain

Pennsylvania got some good news Friday from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as the state’s unemployment rate fell three-tenths of one percentage point to 7.6% in April. It is the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania since March of last year — although it is still slightly higher than the U.S. unemployment rate.

Unemployment in PA and US

Total nonfarm employment rose by 6,700 jobs in April, while employment as measured by a separate household survey climbed by 13,000. Strong growth in April was accompanied by upward revisions in March employment (initially, March employment fell by 5,900 jobs, but after the revision, it fell by 1,900 jobs). Over the last three months, Pennsylvania has added, on average, just over 2,000 jobs a month.

Employment growth in the last three months is positive but remains muted compared to previous years. To return to full employment in three years, Pennsylvania would have to add, on average, 8,000 jobs a month. In the household survey, the gain of 13,000 jobs was the first recorded gain in that survey since December.

The Pennsylvania Economy Continues to Add Jobs But at Pace Well Below Required to Return the Labor Market to Full Health in Three Years

The labor force declined again in April, although by just 3,000. Since January, the labor force in Pennsylvania has fallen by 48,072. Since January 2010, Pennsylvania’s labor force has grown by 2%, compared to 1.2% in the rest of the country.

Strong Labor Force Growth Reversed Course in 2013 in PA

Overall, April was a good month for Pennsylvania's jobs picture, with a marked drop in the unemployment rate that appears to be driven by solid employment gains. Still, with job growth slow overall, real challenges remain for Pennsylvania's economy.

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