Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate remained flat at 4.6 percent in February, the lowest rate seen across the state since 2007, according to a monthly workforce report released Friday.
The unchanged rate reflected slight changes in the workforce amid strong hiring. The state’s unemployed workforce grew by 4,000 people to 300,000 in February, according to seasonally adjusted data from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. The government defines unemployed people as those without jobs who are available for work and who make specific efforts to find employment.
Meanwhile, 17,000 more people were counted as employed than the previous month, growing the state’s total civilian labor force — unemployed and employed people combined — by 21,000.
The state’s unemployment rate has not been this low since September 2007, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which has data dating back to January 1976. It registers better than the overall U.S. unemployment rate of 4.9 percent in January, which remained unchanged in February.
Pennsylvania employers added 21,100 non-farm jobs to their payroll in February, after cutting 16,100 jobs from their payrolls in January, about a 0.4 percent rise in state jobs, according to seasonally adjusted data. Compared with February 2015, employers have added 53,300 positions, or 0.9 percent growth.
The service-providing industry sectors led the way in February, with education and health services opening up 12,200 positions, or about 1 percent of its total 1.2 million jobs. Leisure and hospitality is the fastest-growing sector over the year, adding 15,000 positions, or 2.8 percent of its workforce, though that category showed a monthly decline of 600.
Each of the three goods-producing industries — mining and logging, construction and manufacturing — posted monthly and annual declines in February. Mining and logging lost 1,200 jobs, or 4 percent, in February. That’s down 9,100 jobs, or 24 percent, from one year ago.
Manufacturing employers cut 2,200 jobs, or 0.4 percent of its workforce, in February. That down 5,500 jobs, or 1 percent, from one year ago.
The state report is preliminary and will be slightly adjusted in next month’s report, scheduled for release on April 15.
Daniel Moore: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-2743 and Twitter @PGdanielmoore.
First Published March 18, 2016 11:15 AM