Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest level since March 2009.
The Department of Labor and Industry says April’s 7.5 percent figure is the latest sign of a slow but steady economic recovery. Scott Meckley, the manager of the agency’s Center for Workforce Information and Analysis, explained Pennsylvania has created more than 80,000 jobs in the last 12 months. “What we’ve seen is a gradual drop in the rate from when we peaked at 8.8 percent a year ago. And I think what this means – you can see in the numbers that the number of unemployed individuals in the state continues to shrink,” he said. “And we’re seeing a corresponding increase in the number of employed individuals.”
Unemployment rose above 8 percent in May 2009, and stayed there until February. The rate peaked in early 2010, at 8.8 percent, but never broke into the nine percent range, as the national figure did. In fact, Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate stayed below the national average throughout the recession.
Meckley said he’s always cautious about reading too much into one month of data, but that the .3 percent drop from March to April is part of a larger trend. “The number of people in the state that are considered unemployed – that is not working, but wanting to work, has declined pretty much every month for the past year or so.”