‘Opportunity Abounds for Pennsylvania Workers’: State’s Unemployment Rate Decreases, Setting New Record Low

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unemployment rate
“The Pennsylvania Worker,” a sculpture of a shirtless man muscling a steel beam into place, graces the entrance to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry building in Harrisburg.

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) has released its preliminary employment situation report for December 2022.

The unemployment rate in Pennsylvania was down one-tenth of a percentage point over the month to 3.9 percent in December, setting a new record low. The U.S. unemployment rate was also down one-tenth of a point over the month, falling to 3.5 percent. The commonwealth’s unemployment rate was 1.6 percentage points below its December 2021 level and the national rate was down 0.4 percentage points over the year.

“Pennsylvania’s new record low unemployment rate of 3.9 percent is encouraging,” said L&I Acting Secretary Nancy Walker. “Pennsylvanians are reentering the workforce, launching new careers, and pursuing jobs that sustain their families. Opportunity abounds today for Pennsylvania workers.

“We also know that a historically tight labor market presents its own challenges, particularly for employers who need workers with specialized skillsets. L&I’s role in providing services to workers and employers is as critical as ever, and we are committed to meeting those challenges and building a Pennsylvania economy that works for everyone.”

Pennsylvania’s civilian labor force — the estimated number of residents working or looking for work — was up 9,000 over the month. The employment count rose by 11,000 and resident unemployment declined by 1,000.

Pennsylvania’s total nonfarm jobs were up 17,000 over the month to 6,040,100 in December. Jobs increased from November in nine of the 11 industry supersectors. The largest gain was in construction (+4,600), while professional and business services jobs rose to a record high level. Over the year, total nonfarm jobs were up 202,500 with gains in 10 of the 11 supersectors.

From April 2020 to December 2022, Pennsylvania recovered approximately 95 percent of jobs lost in the first two months of the pandemic. Four supersectors — trade, transportation, and utilities; information; professional and business services; and manufacturing — were above their pre-pandemic job levels in December 2022.

Additional information is available from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry.

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