Pa.’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.3 percent in March, still lags the rest of U.S. | Monday Morning Coffee

Jobless workers demonstrate in Miami Springs in support of continued federal unemployment benefits in the pandemic economy. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Good Monday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

Pennsylvania’s statewide unemployment rate dipped to 7.3 percent in March, a decrease of a tenth of a percentage point compared to the month before, according to new state data. Despite the improvement, the Keystone State still lags the rest of the nation, with the nationwide rate at 6 percent in March, down from 6.2 percent in February.

In a statement, the state Department of Labor & Industry said the state’s civilian labor force, or the estimated number of people who were looking for work, increased by 1,000 people in March, as employment rose slightly more than unemployment declined.

(Source: Pa. Dept. of Labor & Industry.)

Nationwide, job growth was driven by an uptick across several sectors, including leisure and hospitality; public and private education, and construction, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That data is visualized below:

(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

Statewide, total non-farm jobs were up by 24,000 in March, marking the 10th gain in 11 months, state officials said. The state gains reflected national trends, with “the largest volume gain in education & health services (+8,500),” L&I said in its statement.

Below, a look at job data across some Pennsylvania sectors, via the state Department of Labor & Industry. (Numbers are in thousands).

(Source: Pa. Dept. of Labor & Industry.)

Overall, unemployment in the state has yet to rebound to its pre-pandemic levels. In March 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, Pennsylvania’s statewide unemployment rate was 5.1 percent; nationwide it was 4.4 percent, state data shows.

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Our Stuff.
In this week’s edition of The Numbers Racket, Cassie Miller runs down the list of the top energy-exporting states, and looks at where Pennsylvania fits into the national picture. 

With redistricting well underway, we tried drawing our own congressional maps. Our methods as a staff differed, our overall conclusion did not: Mapmaking is tough work.

What off-year election? Elizabeth Hardison talks to local elections officials as they get ready for the May 18 primary and finds them hard at work.

This year’s Black Maternal Health Week highlights the dangers and inequities for pregnant personsCassie Miller also reports.

On our Commentary Page this morning, opinion regular Dick Polman says evangelical conservatives are abdicating their moral duty to get vaccinated. And a suburban Philly physician calls on U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., to get behind the U.S. House bill authorizing universal background checks on all gun purchases.

En la Estrella-CapitalPa. extiende la pausa de la vacuna Johnson & Johnson después de que una mujer de Pa. y otras cinco personas experimentan coágulos de sangre.

Former U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa. (Flickr Commons.)

Elsewhere.
Former U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, of Hazleton, a close ally of Donald Trumpis nearing a GOP bid for governor, the Inquirer reports,
The 2020 election is the big issue in the 2021 race for state Supreme Court, the Associated Press reports (via the Post-Gazette).
PennLive previews Tuesday’s rally (It’s 4/20 Dayfor marijuana legalization in Harrisburg.
The Morning Call
 explains how one Slate Belt community has become a microcosm for big gains in Lehigh Valley home prices.
Luzerne County school districts will receive nearly $200 million in COVID aid, the Citizens’ Voice reports.

Here’s your #Harrisburg Instagram of the Day:

 

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A new coalition is looking to expand voting access in DelawareWHYY-FM reports.
WITF-FM looks at the fifth anniversary of Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana law.
GoErie explains why migrant children from the southern border are being housed in the Erie area (paywall).
PoliticsPA rounds up last week’s winners and losers in state politics.
Roll Call explains how the Jan. 6 Capitol riot has impacted GOP fundraising.

What Goes On.
The House and Senate are both back this week. The House comes in at 12 p.m. The Senate gavels in at 1 p.m.
Here’s a look at the day’s committee action.
First up, the Senate:
9 a.m., Senate Chamber: 
Education Committee
10 a.m., B31 Main Capitol: Joint Legislative Air & Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee
Off the Floor: Appropriations Committee
Off the Floor: Banking & Insurance Committee
Off the Floor: Rules & Executive Nominations Committee

In the House:
10 a.m, 140 Main Capitol: 
Education Committee
10 a.m., B31 Main Capitol: Joint Legislative Air & Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee
10 a.m, 523 Irvis South: Professional Licensure Committee
11 a.m, 60EW: Environmental Resources & Energy Committee
Call of the Chair, 140 Main Capitol: Appropriations Committee

What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition).
8 a.m.: 
Breakfast for Senate candidate Marty Flynn
8 a.m.: 
Breakfast for Sens. Lindsey Williams and Katie Muth
11 a.m.: 
Luncheon for Rep. Marty Causer
5:30 p.m.: 
Reception for Sen. Gene Yaw
Ride the circuit, and give at the max, and you’re out a “mere” $11,000 today.

WolfWatch.
Gov. Tom Wolf
 gets his first COVID-19 jab today during a 9:30 a.m. event in York.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Best wishes go out this morning to Faith Curran at Shelly/Lyons Communications in Harrisburg, and to PennLive’s inimitable Dave Jones, both of whom celebrate today. Congratulations and enjoy the day, friends.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s a dance classic to get you through your Monday. It’s ‘U Don’t Know Me,’ by Armand van Helden, featuring Duane Harden. Play this one loud and dance around your home office.

Monday’s Gratuitous Baseball Link.
Baltimore lost a toughie to Texas on Sunday, going down to a 1-0 defeat after 10 innings.

And now you’re up to date.

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