March unemployment data shows COVID-19 impact in Pa. | The Numbers Racket

By: - April 20, 2020 6:30 am

March data from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry is giving us a first glimpse of the impact COVID-19 mitigation efforts have had on jobs and employment across the state. 

The department’s data noted March numbers don’t show the entire picture since COVID-related closures did not affect the week from March 8 – 14. 

The March unemployment and jobs surveys reflect the early effects of COVID-19 and mitigation efforts to contain it. 

The high volume of UC claims activity resulting from COVID-19 mitigation efforts had minimal impact on March’s unemployment figures due to the fact the key week (March 8 to March 14) referenced by the unemployment figures preceded the initial spike in COVID-19 related UC Claims that occurred during the week ending March 21.”

Here’s what we know:

In March, the department reported that unemployment across the state increased by 1.3 percent, bringing the state’s unemployment rate from 4.7 percent in February to 6.0 percent in March. 

Nationally, the unemployment rate rose to 4.4 percent. 

Travel back just one year and the March 2019 unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in Pennsylvania, a 1.9 percent increase over the year, and 3.8 percent nationally. 

Looking at the commonwealth’s labor force, the estimated number of Pennsylvanians working or looking for work declined by 19,000 people over the month. 

Unemployment in the state rose by 85,000 people in March. 

The number of unemployment compensation claims daily and weekly since the COVID-19 mitigation efforts began, are logged on the department’s website. 

From March 15 – March 21 2020 (Sunday – Saturday): the department received 378,900 new UC claims. 

From March 22 – March 28 (Sunday – Saturday): the department received 405,879 new UC claims. 

From March 29 – April 4 (Sunday – Saturday): the department received 283,714 new UC claims. 


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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.