The Department of Labor and Industry Friday released its employment situation report for May 2014 which showed a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined by one-tenth of a percentage point in May to 5.6 percent, the lowest rate since September 2008. An unemployment rate of 5 percent is considered full employment.
The Commonwealth's rate was seven-tenths of a percentage point below the U.S. rate of 6.3 percent, which was unchanged from April. The state rate was down 1.9 percentage points from its May 2013 rate of 7.5 percent.
Pennsylvania's civilian labor force – the number of people working or looking for work – was down 12,000 in May to 6,431,000. Resident employment, down 6,000, declined for the first time after eight consecutive gains while unemployment (-5,000) declined for the 10th straight month.
Total nonfarm jobs increased by 24,700 in May to reach 5,794,900, the highest level since September 2008. The majority of the gain was within the private sector, which added 21,700 jobs to reach a record high of 5,078,000 while public sector jobs were up by 3,000.
The largest gain was in leisure and hospitality, which reached a record high of 550,000 jobs. Education & health services and professional & business services also both reached record high levels in May.Over the year, total nonfarm jobs in Pennsylvania were up 62,400 (+1.1 percent). The growth was primarily within private industries, with the largest gains in leisure & hospitality and professional and business services.