Pa. jobless rate hits 2 year low point

March 18, 2011 7:17:08 AM PDT
Unemployment in Pa. dropped to its lowest rate in February in almost two years.

The statewide jobless rate hit 8 percent last month, a drop of 0.3 percent. The national rate in February was 8.9 percent.

Pennsylvania payrolls stood at 5.67 million in February, about 150,000 below the peak in 2008, according to department estimates. Still, that was 107,000 higher than a year ago, when the state hit its post-recession low.

Just about every sector added jobs during the month, led by education and health services, which added 11,500 jobs. Trade, transportation and utilities added about 3,000 jobs, as did construction.

The department said January unemployment was 8.3 percent, slightly higher than earlier estimates. The department also substantially lowered its original month-by-month unemployment projections for 2010.

As a result of those recalculations, the state unemployment rate since the recession began in December 2007 actually peaked at 8.8 percent in January. Previously, the department had said the peak was 9.3 percent and arrived later in 2010.

The new estimates reflect an annual adjustment the department carries out to try to most accurately reflect all data collected during the year.