Even with reopening, Pa. unemployment claims jumped last week, federal data shows

    The Department of Labor and Industry's unemployment webpage.

    Even as segments of the state’s economy slowly reopen, Pennsylvania still saw a spike in jobless claims last week, newly released federal data show.

    Another 69,408 Keystone State residents filed unemployment claims last week, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. That’s an increase of 6,892 claims from the 62,516 claims filed the week before, the data showed.

    The state’s 15.1 percent seasonally adjusted rate put it in 35th place nationwide in April, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

    Nationwide, 2.1 million people filed new jobless claims, which was less than the Wall Street estimate of 2.5 million, CNBC reported Thursday.  All told, nearly 41 million claims have been filed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, CNBC further reported.

    According to CNBC, continuing claims, or people who have been collecting benefits for at least two weeks, fell by 3.86 million from the week before, to 21.06 million claims this week.

    According to the state Department of Labor & Industry, Pennsylvania’s 15.1 percent unemployment rate in April was a 9.3 percent increase over the month before, and an 11.1 percent increase from April 2019.

    More from the Department of Labor & Industry’s April report, the most recent month for which data were available:

    • “Pennsylvania’s civilian labor force – the estimated number of residents working or looking for work – declined by 91,000 over the month. Resident employment was down 687,000 while unemployment rose by 597,000.
    • “Pennsylvania’s total non-farm jobs were down 1,024,100 over the month to 5,014,200 in April. Jobs were down in each of the 11 industry super-sectors. The largest volume super-sector decline for the second consecutive month was in leisure & hospitality.
    • “Over the year, total non-farm jobs in Pennsylvania were down 1,044,000 with declines in 10 of the 11 super-sectors (financial activities was unchanged from last April). The largest volume 12-month change among super-sectors was a decline of 347,100 jobs in leisure & hospitality.”
    John L. Micek
    A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press