Pennsylvania jobless rate fell; payrolls, labor force up

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania’s payrolls and workforce grew in April as the state’s unemployment rate sank to a post-pandemic low, according to new state figures released Friday.

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate dropped one-tenth of a percentage point to 4.8% from March’s rate, the state Department of Labor and Industry said.

The national rate was 3.6% in April. The gap between Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate and the national rate is among the widest it has been in decades.

In a survey of households, the labor force grew by 23,000 to pass 6.4 million, as the number of employed grew by 28,000 to farther above 6 million and the number of unemployed fell by 5,000 to 308,000.

The state’s labor force fell after hitting a record high of almost 6.6 million just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and still remains below 2008′s levels.

In a separate survey of employers, non-farm payrolls in Pennsylvania grew in April by 11,400, driven primarily by hiring in manufacturing, leisure and hospitality and the education and health services sectors.

At just above 5.9 million, payrolls are at their highest point since hitting a record high of nearly 6.1 million just before the pandemic, according to state figures.

Pennsylvania has regained more than 80% of the 1.1 million jobs lost in the early months of the pandemic, figures show.