The Morning Call

State job­less rate fell in Oct. be­cause la­bor force shrank

- By Marc Levy

HAR­RIS­BURG — Penn­syl­va­nia’s un­em­ploy­ment rate fell again in October as pay­rolls con­tin­ued to re­cover from the eco­nomic hit of last spring’s pan­demic-driven shut­downs, ac­cord­ing to state fig­ures re­leased Fri­day.

Still, the rate fell only be­cause of a big drop in the state’s civil­ian la­bor force, and the state has yet to re­cover manyof the jobs lost to the eco­nomic im­pact of the coro­n­avirus.

Penn­syl­va­nia’s un­em­ploy­ment rate was 7.3% in October, down 1 per­cent­age point from September’s ad­justed rate of 8.3%, the state Depart­ment of La­bor and In­dus­try said.

That is be­low the state’s pan­demic-driven un­em­ploy­ment high of 16.1% in April, the high­est rate in more than four decades of record-keep­ing.

The na­tional rate was 6.9% in October, and un­em­ploy­ment rates dropped in October in 37 states, ac­cord­ing to the fed­eral Bu­reau of La­bor Sta­tis­tics. Penn­syl­va­nia was hit harder by the pan­demic than most states in the spring, and its un­em­ploy­ment rate had been one of the high­est in the na­tion since.

The na­tional rate was 6.9% in October, and un­em­ploy­ment rates dropped in October in 37 states, ac­cord­ing to the fed­eral Bu­reau of La­bor Sta­tis­tics. Penn­syl­va­nia was hit harder by the pan­demic than most states in the spring, and its un­em­ploy­ment rate had been one of the high­est in the na­tion since.

In a sur­vey of house­holds, the la­bor force shrank by an es­ti­mated 75,000 in October to less

than 6.4 mil­lion. The state hit a record high of al­most 6.6 mil­lion whowere work­ing or look­ing for work in February. The num­ber of un­em­ployed fell by 71,000, while the num­ber of em­ployed fell by 4,000.

Pay­rolls in Penn­syl­va­nia grew in October, gain­ing back al­most 19,000 of the more than 1.1 mil­lion jobs lost since mid-March. Penn­syl­va­nia has nowre­gained slightly more than half of those jobs lost, ac­cord­ing to state fig­ures.

At about 5.6 mil­lion jobs, non­farm pay­rolls are still down about 500,000 from be­fore the pan­demic, or about 1 in 12 jobs to­tal. That is still be­low where pay­rolls were in 2010.

At the height of coro­n­avirus-shut­down job losses, sea­son

ally ad­justed non­farm pay­rolls fell to the low­est level in at least three decades of fed­eral data that goes back to the start of 1990 un­der the same method­ol­ogy.

Hard­est hit has been the leisure and hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tor, which shed about 60% of its pay­roll as restau­rants and bars were forced to shut down in-house ser­vice and shift food ser­vice to take­out or de­liv­ery .

But in October, the leisure and hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tor, which in­cludes restau­rants, was among the big­gest gain­ers. It added 6,000 jobs in October, but re­mains more than 140,000 jobs, or about 25%, be­hind where pay­rolls were in February.

Pay­roll in most other sec­tors also grew in October.

 ?? SEAN SIM­MERS/AP ?? The Penn­syl­va­nia Restau­rant and Lodg­ing As­so­ci­a­tion hosts a rally on the Capi­tol steps Wed­nes­day in Har­ris­burg in a uni­fied plea for help from elected of­fi­cials to save restau­rant own­ers and em­ploy­ees’ liveli­hoods. The pan­demic has been hard on the leisure and hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try, which shed about 60% of its pay­roll, but was among the big­gest job gain­ers in October.
SEAN SIM­MERS/AP The Penn­syl­va­nia Restau­rant and Lodg­ing As­so­ci­a­tion hosts a rally on the Capi­tol steps Wed­nes­day in Har­ris­burg in a uni­fied plea for help from elected of­fi­cials to save restau­rant own­ers and em­ploy­ees’ liveli­hoods. The pan­demic has been hard on the leisure and hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try, which shed about 60% of its pay­roll, but was among the big­gest job gain­ers in October.

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