Pennsylvania payrolls up, unemployment rate down in February

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Pennsylvania’s payrolls jumped in February and the unemployment rate fell to a post-pandemic low, according to new state figures.

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate fell three-tenths of a percentage point to 5.1% from January’s rate, the state Department of Labor and Industry said.

The national rate was 3.8% in February. The gap between Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate and the national rate is among the widest in decades.

In a household survey, the labor force was relatively stable at just under 6.4 million. The number of employees increased by 12,000 to well over 6 million.

The state’s workforce hit an all-time high of nearly 6.6 million just before the COVID-19 pandemic, but remains below 2011 levels.

In a separate survey of employers, nonfarm payrolls in Pennsylvania rose by 34,000 in February, led by hiring in manufacturing and trade, transportation and utilities.

At nearly 5.9 million, the payroll is at its highest level since hitting a record near 6.1 million just before the pandemic, according to state figures.

Pennsylvania has recovered about 80% of the 1.1 million jobs lost in the first months of the pandemic, the figures show.

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