Pa. jobless rate declines as fewer look for work
By Alex Nixon
Published: Friday, May 17, 2013, 2:21 p.m.
The state's unemployment rate improved in April, but economists said Pennsylvania's economy remains weak.
The seasonally adjusted jobless rate dipped to 7.6 percent last month, down three-tenths of a percentage point from 7.9 percent in March, according to a monthly employment report released on Friday.
But the decline has been accompanied by three-month contraction in the size of the labor force, an indication that unemployed workers may be giving up their search for jobs.
“That's a negative,” said Gus Faucher, senior economist at PNC Bank. “It's fallen for three straight months. Fewer people are looking for work.”
Meanwhile, employers added 7,600 jobs in April. Seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs totaled 5.753 million last month, up from 5.746 million in March.
The service sector, primarily professional and business services and leisure and hospitality, gained 11,700 jobs. But the goods-producing sector, including mining and logging, construction and manufacturing, showed a decline of 5,000 jobs.
“That's usually worrisome because that's where your good salaries are,” said Frank Gamrat, economist for the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy, referring to goods-producing jobs.
“We're still slowly plodding along,” he said. “It's not quite growing the way we would like it to grow.”
While professional and business services jobs typically pay well, many jobs in the leisure and hospitality industry are low-wage, he said.
The jobs numbers come from a survey of employers. The unemployment rate is calculated from a survey of households.
The household survey showed 6 million Pennsylvanians were employed last month, up 13,000 from March. The number of unemployed declined by 17,000 to 496,000 in April. The civilian workforce fell by 3,000 to 6.5 million.
“Growth is still weak, but it is growth — and that's a positive,” Faucher said.
The national unemployment rate in April was 7.5 percent, down from 7.6 percent in March.
“We do have year-over-year job growth, but it is quite weak and lagging behind the U.S.,” Faucher said.
Across the country, solid hiring helped push down unemployment rates in 40 states last month, the most since November.
Unemployment is declining in many states because the housing industry is adding jobs again. Rates in other states have declined because many of the unemployed residents have stopped looking for work.
The government counts people as unemployed only if they are actively seeking jobs.
Alex Nixon is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7928 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Obama administration asking insurers to be flexible on health coverage
- ProStart primes student chefs for best kitchen jobs
- Early data reveal downward shift in holiday spending
- PNC plans to do away with tellers
- Economic recovery hinges on feds, experts say
- Some bargains improve once tree comes down
- Washington County gas drilling spill cited in lawsuit not reported to state
- Health-insurance mandate poses potential hitch for volunteer fire companies
- Merrill to pay $131.8M to settle SEC charges
- Wary of Federal Reserve fallout, stocks drop further
- Ford plans 23 new cars, 5,000 U.S. jobs in 2014