HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate remained at 5.6 percent in June, the lowest rate since September 2008, the state Department of Labor and Industry reported today.
The commonwealth’s rate was five-tenths of a percentage point below the U.S. rate of 6.1 percent, which was down two-tenths of a point from May. The state rate was down 1.9 percentage points from its June 2013 rate of 7.5 percent.
Pennsylvania’s civilian labor force – the number of people working or looking for work – was down 28,000 in June to 6,403,000 due to declines in both employment and unemployment, according to the state report. Resident employment, down 22,000, was down for the second month in a row following eight consecutive gains while unemployment (-6,000) declined for the 11th straight month.
Total non-farm jobs increased by 1,800 in June to 5,789,700, the highest level since September 2008. The majority of the gain was within the private sector, which added 5,600 jobs to a record high of 5,079,400. Public sector jobs declined by 3,800. The largest gain in June was in trade, transportation & utilities (+5,300), with about half of that gain due to retail trade.
Over the year, total non-farm jobs in Pennsylvania were up 56,700 (+1.0 percent). The growth was almost entirely within private industries, with the largest gains in education & health services and construction.
Labor and Industry noted the data are seasonally adjusted, which provide the most valid month-to-month comparison.
Local unemployment figures will be released on July 29. Earlier this month, the department reported the unemployment rate in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre market fell in May, but so did the number of people with jobs.
The 7.2 percent rate was down one-tenth of 1 percent from April and 1.9 percentage points from the May 2013 rate of 9.1 percent, the department said. But the region that includes Luzerne, Lackawanna and Wyoming counties maintained the unenviable distinction of having the highest jobless rate in Pennsylvania.