The Department of Labor & Industry Friday reported Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate declined by three-tenths of a percentage point in December to 4.8 percent, the Commonwealth’s lowest rate since March 2008.
This was the fourth consecutive monthly decline in the state unemployment rate and the ninth decline in 2014. Pennsylvania’s rate was eight-tenths of a percentage point below the U.S. rate of 5.6 percent. The Commonwealth’s rate was down by 2.0 percentage points from last December while the national rate declined by 1.1 points over the year.
Pennsylvania’s civilian labor force contracted slightly in December, down 1,000 to 6,367,000. Resident employment was up 13,000 while unemployment was down 14,000.
Total nonfarm jobs were up by 8,300 to 5,812,300, the highest level since June 2008. Private sector jobs rose 8,300 to a record high of 5,098,200. Within industries, the largest increase in December was 4,700 in education & health services. Construction had the largest decline, down 4,800.Over the year, total nonfarm jobs in Pennsylvania were up 54,200 (+0.9 percent). The growth was almost entirely within private industries, with the largest gains in trade, transportation & utilities, education & health services and construction. Only two of the eleven supersectors declined from last December – information and government.