Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate dropped to 4% in February.

On March 22nd the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) released its employment situation report for February 2019. 

The report details the estimated number of Pennsylvania residents working or looking for work, known as the civilian labor force, was up 8,000 over the month. The number of employed Pennsylvanians rose by 15,000 to a record high of 6,209,000. The number of unemployed residents was down 5,000 from January to its lowest level since October 2000.

 (in thousands) February January February
  2019 2019 2018
Civilian Labor Force 6,469 6,461 6,401
Employment 6,209 6,194 6,112
Unemployment 261 266 289
Rate 4.0 4.1 4.5
Civilian Labor Force 163,184 163,229 161,900
Employment 156,949 156,694 155,213
Unemployment 6,235 6,535 6,687
Rate 3.8 4.0 4.1

Key Takeaways from the Report

In January, Pennsylvania reached a record high in total jobs of 6,037,800

  • Lowest unemployment since October 2000
  • Service providing industries rose record high.
  • The largest gain was in trade, transportation & utilities
  • Leisure & hospitality Jobs Rose to a record High.

An updated report will be released in April 2019, until then additional information can be found here.

Low Unemployment, Businesses Struggle

“It’s getting increasingly difficult to find individuals who want to work and learn in my manufacturing plant.” A York Business owner said. “We’re located in Emigsville and we’ve instituted bonuses, and have given out raises. The bare minimum you’ll get paid here is $15/hr. Still it proves difficult to find workers as business continues to grow.”

Business are doing anything they can to attract workers. Some even geolocate their business to attract workers who’ve lost their drivers license. Some have removed their drug testing policies

“It’s proving difficult to find workers, but we have the unique advantage that we are located in York City. about 20% of our workers walk to work in the morning.”

During our phone conversation with local business we’ve even found a few that have turned to outsourcing and automating administrative and office tasks.

There is danger in low unemployment. If the unemployment stays low the labor market could reach a point where the cost of employing a person exceeds the benefit provided by that job. The impact is already being felt by low income jobs positions across York.

“I can’t find anyone to work the dishwasher” We spoke to a Restaurant owner in York. “I used to find people that would be happy to work in the dish pit, but now I can’t find anyone, they don’t show up, and the quality of the worker has dropped.”

The quality of the worker hasn’t dropped, the quality of worker for that wage has dropped.

If a person want’s to work, they can likely find employment in York County.