More Pennsylvanians Working Than A Year Ago

But are the jobs any good?

First the good news from today’s state unemployment report: More Pennsylvanians are working than a year ago —61,000 more, in fact. That’s helped lower the unemployment rate to 6 percent.

The bad news? Pennsylvanians are still dropping out of the labor force: 46,000 state residents who have given up looking for work. Not as quickly as their bretheren are being hired, but still enough that it signal some softness in the state economy: The U.S. economy actully added workers during the same time period.

The other question is: What kind of jobs are folks working these day?

Note, the state added 17,200 non-farm jobs over the course of the last year. That growth rate of 0.3 percent isn’t all that spectacular.

However: 14,300 of those new jobs were in the “leisure and hospitality” sector —which, as we’ve demonstrated before, is full of part-time workers earning relatively wages. Meanwhile, the state lost 4,100 high-hour, high-wage jobs in the manufacturing sector.

In other words: More Pennsylvanians are working. Good. But the state is still struggling through a process of subtracting middle-class jobs and adding, well, non-middle class jobs. Things aren’t as bad as they have been. It’s hard to call them good.