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February Jobs Report: Unemployment Rate at 5.2%

Unemployment-300x225The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry released its monthly jobs report, showing a slight increase in unemployment rate by one-tenth of a percentage point during February 2015. The first two months of 2015 have seen miniscule increase (+0.2%) in unemployment following four consecutive months of decline.

Good News

The Keystone State’s unemployment rate increased from 5.1 percent to 5.2 percent but still remained three-tenths of a percentage point below the U.S. rate of 5.5 percent, which fell from 5.7 percent in January.

Compared to February 2014, the state’s rate fell by a full 1.0 percent while the national rate dropped 1.2 percent.

The state civilian labor force – the number of people working or looking for work – increased by 7,000 in February to 6,365,000. Residential employment was also up by 2,000.

Total nonfarm jobs reached a record high of 5,829,200 in February with an increase of 13,300. The gain was concentrated in the private sector, which added 15,700 jobs while government declined by 2,400.

Since February 2014, total nonfarm jobs were up 73,100 (+1.3%). The largest gains were in trade, transportation & utilities, education & health services and professional & business services.

The largest monthly increase was in education & health services, up 6,000 jobs.

Mediocre News

Financial activities saw a decrease of 0.1 percent from January and only a 0.3 percent increase over the past year.

The information super sector has experience a 0.4 percent hike from January but sits a full 2.0 percent behind the number a year ago.

Bad News

Only two of the eleven super sectors declined from a year ago – information and government. Construction showed the biggest decline, down 2,500. Mining and logging also saw a decrease from January by 1.0 percent.

Note: The above data are seasonally adjusted. Seasonally adjusted data provide the most valid month-to-month comparison.

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