State jobless rate drops to 7.6 percent
The jobs picture was brighter in Pennsylvania last month, as unemployment statewide plunged to 7.6 percent, 0.3 of a point below March.
It was a significant decline, and the extension of a winning streak of sorts.
The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry reported that the number of jobless individuals declined by 17,000 to 496,000. That is the third-largest decrease on record, behind March 2013 and July 1983.
March’s figure of 513,000 unemployed people represented a 20,000 dropoff from 533,000 February. The largest recorded plunge, 102,000 in July 1983, occurred during the collapse of steel in Southwestern Pennsylvania. The state’s unemployment rate that June was 12.5.
April also was the third consecutive month that Pennsylvania’s jobless rate dropped. After rising from 7.9 to 8.2 percent from December to January, the state’s monthly rate fell to 8.1 percent in February, then 7.9 and 7.6. April’s figure is 0.6 of a percentage point lower than that of January, and 0.2 percent lower than 7.8 in April 2012.
Total employment also rose 13,000 to 6,008,000, tying September 2012 for the second-largest increase over the past 12 months.
Private sector jobs increased by 8,300, the largest gains occurring in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality and educational and health services, Labor & Industry reported.