Pa. Dept. of Labor shows small employment gains in October

Passers-by walk past a hiring sign as they enter a Target retail store location, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Westwood, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Passers-by walk past a hiring sign as they enter a Target retail store location, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Westwood, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry reports the state’s unemployment rate fell down 1% in October to 7.3%.

While the figure represents a small decrease in unemployment compared to the prior month, the rate remains high as the commonwealth enters a second coronavirus surge and businesses close to encourage social distancing.

Pennsylvania’s civilian labor force dropped by 75,000 over the month. However, nonfarm jobs were up nearly 19,000 over the month, boosting its total number to more than 5.6 million in October.

Over the past six months, Pennsylvania has recovered nearly 60% of the total nonfarm jobs lost in March and April.

Total nonfarm jobs in Pennsylvania were down 455,900, or -7.5%, over the year, with a 12-month decline of 142,200 jobs in leisure & hospitality.

The national rate also fell 1% from September to 7%.  The national unemployment rate rose 3.3 points in 2020 to date.

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate hit a record low in 2019 at 4.1%, then hit a record high of 16.1% in April due to COVID-19 and business restrictions to mitigate its spread. The rate was worse than that of the Great Recession and any other time on record.

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