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March 30, 2023 7:17 am

Pennsylvania Jobs Nearly Return to Pre-Pandemic Level

Parker Wallis

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry reported that 80 percent of jobs lost since the start of the pandemic have been recovered, and the state’s unemployment rate fell to 4.9 percent from February to March. 

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate followed behind the United States’ numbers as both declined at the same rate of two-tenths of a percentage point, with the national average remaining at 3.6 percent in March.  

“This month’s jobs report marks the 23rd consecutive month in Pennsylvania without an unemployment rate increase,” said Labor & Industry Secretary Jennifer Berrier. “The numbers show the Commonwealth continues to rebound strongly from the devastating effects of the pandemic, which put an enormous strain on our labor force.”

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate was 2.2 percentage points below its March 2021 level, and the national rate was down 2.4 percentage points over the year.

Additionally, the number of Pennsylvanians working or looking for work increased by 17,000 over the month. According to the Department of Labor & Industry’s numbers, the employment count rose 32,000 – bringing the total of employed Pennsylvanians to 6,074,000 – while resident unemployment declined 15,000 to a total of 313,000 residents.

The March 2022 report also shows that Pennsylvania’s total nonfarm jobs increased 15,800 to nearly 6 million in March. Over the course of the month, nonfarm job growth increased in 8 out of 11 of Pennsylvania’s supersectors with the largest gain from February being professional & business services (+7,600).

From 2021 to 2022, total nonfarm jobs rose by 195,900, with gains in 10 of the 11 supersectors. Over the course of a year, leisure & hospitality added 70,100 jobs making it the largest 12-month gain, a significant addition to Pennsylvania’s economy. 

Some industries surpassed pre-pandemic employment levels in March 2022. Trade, transportation & utilities; information; and professional & business services were reported as the three supersectors that reached above their pre-pandemic job numbers. 

“The datasets we are releasing today,” said Secretary Berrier, “highlight the resilience of the millions of Pennsylvania workers doing their part to keep our economic recovery headed in the right direction.”

It is not yet clear if Pennsylvania will completely recover from the recent recession, but the positive economic trends point to a strengthening Pennsylvania workforce.