A New, Multi-Year Low For PA’s Unemployment Rate

Harrisburg Patriot-News

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate dropped one-tenth of a percentage point to 7.5 percent in May according to employment statistics released today by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry. This was the state’s lowest unemployment rate since March 2009.

“Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate hasn’t been this low since 2009 and has declined for four consecutive months,” Julia Hearthway, Secretary of the Department of Labor & Industry said. “Pennsylvania’s rate is now below the U.S. rate, which increased one-tenth of a percentage point in May to 7.6 percent.”

READ MORE: Pa. vs. U.S. by the numbers.

Update: While the slight fall in the PA unemployment rate is grabbing the headlines because at 7.5 percent it is at a multi-year low, this was not a great employment report. Total non-farm employment fell by 9,200 jobs, compared to April, in Pennsylvania. And private sector jobs were down by 6,200 last month (meaning the rest of the overall May employment drop was in government). Amid all this, about 9,000 people stopped looking for work in the state. This discouraged worker effect seems to be what led to the drop in the unemployment rate for May. Longer term, however, the state’s employment trajectory is somewhat better:

Over the year, the unemployment rate was down four-tenths of a percentage point and the labor force was up 45,000, the department said.

The number of people unemployed decreased to 488,000. This was the fourth consecutive month that the unemployment count has decreased.

However, private sector jobs were down 6,200 in May compared to April. But the number of jobs was up 20,600 over May 2012. The number of private sector jobs added since January 2011 was 116,400.