How Bad are April’s Unemployment Numbers for Pa?

More than 15% of Pennsylvania workers were unemployed—the highest level on record—according to U.S. Department of Labor data released today.

More than 1.1 million payroll jobs were lost since February, based on employer data in the same release.

Here are some key takeaways:

  • The 15.1% official unemployment rate is the highest on record (going back to 1976), and the percentage of the population employed is the lowest on record.
  • The number of people unemployed is the most ever in Pennsylvania history.
  • More than 1 million payroll jobs—which excludes farming jobs and self-employed/contractors—were eliminated last month, and a total of 1.1 million were lost in two months.
  • That represents 17.9% of jobs lost from February to April.

Below is a breakdown of jobs lost by sector. Not surprisingly, hospitality and recreation jobs were hit the hardest, with nearly 60% of payroll jobs eliminated. Construction was also hit hard, with a 40% decline in jobs. Even health care saw more than 10% of jobs eliminated.                                                                     

Overall, the private sector saw 19.9% of jobs lost. While government jobs (federal, state, and local) declined by a mere 2.9%.