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Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate at 13.1% in May

Today, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) released its employment situation report for May. The May unemployment and jobs surveys collected data that referenced the week from May 10 – 16 prior to many counties moving to the yellow phase of reopening from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate was down 3.0 percentage points over the month to 13.1% in May. The national rate fell 1.4 percentage points from May to 13.3%. The commonwealth’s unemployment rate increased by 8.9 percentage points from May 2019 while the national rate was up 9.7 points over the year.

Pennsylvania’s civilian labor force – the estimated number of residents working or looking for work – was up 23,000 over the month. Resident employment was up 211,000 while unemployment declined by 188,000.

Pennsylvania’s total nonfarm jobs were up 198,300 over the month to 5,191,400 in May. May’s gain was the largest single-month increase on record. Jobs increased in 9 of the 11 industry supersectors. The largest volume gain was an increase of 77,400 in construction, which recovered over two-thirds of its March and April losses.

Over the year, total nonfarm jobs in Pennsylvania were down 863,800 with declines in each of the 11 supersectors. The largest volume 12-month change among supersectors was a decline of 300,100 jobs in leisure & hospitality.

Additional information is available on the L&I website at or by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Note: The above data are seasonally adjusted. Seasonally adjusted data provide the most valid month-to-month comparison.