Pennsylvania’s Unemployment Rate at a New Record Low

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  • The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry reported that the state’s unemployment rate fell to a record low of 3.9% in December 2022, one-tenth lower than November and 1.6 percentage points below its 2021 level.
  • The U.S.’s unemployment rate also decreased by one-tenth over the month, reaching 3.5%.
  • Pennsylvania’s civilian labor force increased by 9,000 over the month while total nonfarm jobs rose 17,000 from November to 6,040 million in December 2022 with gains seen in 9 out 11 industry supersectors; notably construction (+4,600) and professional & business services (reaching a new high).
  • Over April 2020 – December 2022 95% of pandemic job losses were recovered with four supersectors surpassing their pre-pandemic levels: trade/transportation/utilities; information; professional/business services; manufacturing

PENNSYLVANIA — The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) recently released its preliminary employment situation report for December 2022.

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate was down one-tenth of a percentage point over the month to 3.9% in December, setting a new record low. The U.S. unemployment rate was also down one-tenth of a point over the month, falling to 3.5 percent. The commonwealth’s unemployment rate was 1.6 percentage points below its December 2021 level and the national rate was down 0.4 percentage points over the year.

“Pennsylvania’s new record low unemployment rate of 3.9% is encouraging. Pennsylvanians are reentering the workforce, launching new careers and pursuing jobs that sustain their families. Opportunity abounds today for Pennsylvania workers,” said L&I Acting Secretary Nancy Walker. “We also know that a historically tight labor market presents its own challenges, particularly for employers who need workers with specialized skillsets. L&I’s role in providing services to workers and employers is as critical as ever, and we are committed to meeting those challenges and building a Pennsylvania economy that works for everyone.”

Pennsylvania’s civilian labor force – the estimated number of residents working or looking for work – was up 9,000 over the month. The employment count rose by 11,000 and resident unemployment declined by 1,000.

Pennsylvania’s total nonfarm jobs were up 17,000 over the month to 6,040,100 in December. Jobs increased from November in 9 of the 11 industry supersectors. The largest gain was in construction (+4,600), while professional & business services jobs rose to a record high level. Over the year, total nonfarm jobs were up 202,500 with gains in 10 of the 11 supersectors.

From April 2020 to December 2022, Pennsylvania recovered approximately 95% of jobs lost in the first two months of the pandemic. Four supersectors – trade, transportation & utilities; information; professional & business services; and manufacturing – were above their pre-pandemic job levels in December 2022.

Additional information is available on the L&I website at

Note, the above data are seasonally adjusted. Seasonally adjusted data provide the most valid month-to-month comparison. December data are preliminary and subject to revision.

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