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Pennsylvania's Jobless Rate Falls Again, Dips Below U.S. Rate

Gene J. Puskar

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate fell for a seventh straight month in November, dipping below the national rate, as payrolls continued to rebound from pandemic-driven shutdowns, according to state figures released Friday.

Still, the state's labor force shrank, and Pennsylvania has yet to recover many of the jobs lost to the economic impact of the coronavirus.

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate was 6.6% in November, down eight-tenths of a percentage point from October's adjusted rate of 7.4%, the state Department of Labor and Industry said.

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

The national rate was 6.7% in November, and unemployment rates dropped in November in 25 states, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Pennsylvania's unemployment rate had been one of the highest in the nation during last spring's shutdowns.

In a survey of households, the labor force shrank by an estimated 40,000 in November, closer to 6.3 million. The state hit a record high of almost 6.6 million who were working or looking for work in February. The number of unemployed fell by 55,000, while the number of employed grew by 15,000.

Payrolls in Pennsylvania grew in November, by a projected 21,000, according to surveys of employers. Pennsylvania has now regained about 57% of the 1.1 million jobs lost since mid-March, according to state figures.

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