HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania’s payrolls grew again in January, the unemployment rate crept down and the labor force expanded after more than a year of contraction, according to new figures released Friday.
Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate dropped a tenth of a percentage point to 5.4% from December’s adjusted rate, according to the state Department of Labor and Industry. December’s initial rate was 5.4% before being adjusted upward.
The national rate was 4% in January. 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 for just the second month since September 2000, amid a worker shortage attributed partly to growing numbers of people going to work for themselves.
It rose by 4,000 to move to closer to 6.4 million, under newly revised figures. The number of employed grew by 13,000.
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The state’s labor force hit a record high of almost 6.6 million just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but remains below 2011’s levels.
In a separate survey of employers, non-farm payrolls in Pennsylvania grew in January by 20,000, driven primarily by hiring in the professional and business services sector.
At close to 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 almost 80% of the 1.1 million jobs lost in the early months of the pandemic, figures show.
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