Pa’s unemployment rate falls to lowest since March 2020

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HARRISBURG–The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) today released its preliminary employment figures for January 2022, showing the state’s unemployment rate down one-tenth of a percentage point to 5.4 percent.

January’s report marks the 21st consecutive month without an unemployment rate increase. Meanwhile, the U.S. unemployment rate rose a tenth of a percentage point to 4.0 percent in January. The commonwealth’s unemployment rate was 2.1 percentage points below its January 2021 level and the national rate was down 2.4 points over the year.

Pennsylvania’s civilian labor force – the estimated number of residents working or looking for work – increased 4,000 over the month. The employment count rose 13,000, to 6,030,000, while resident unemployment declined 9,000, to 341,000.

Pennsylvania’s total nonfarm jobs were up 20,000 over the month to 5,857,600 in January. Jobs increased in nine of the 11 industry supersectors. Professional and business services – which increased by 8,400 – made up the largest share of the monthly gain. Trade, transportation and utilities reached a record high in January 2022 at 1,134,900 jobs.

Over the year, total nonfarm jobs were up 216,300 with gains in all 11 supersectors. Leisure and hospitality had the largest 12-month gain, adding back 84,800 jobs. Three supersectors – trade, transportation and utilities; professional and business services; and information – were above their pre-pandemic February 2020 job levels as of January 2022.

From April 2020 through January 2022, Pennsylvania has recovered approximately 79% of jobs lost due to the pandemic.