Pa. unemployment rate drops to record low of 3.8% in June | Five for the Weekend

The commonwealth’s unemployment rate continued its downward trend in June, according to state data

By: - July 22, 2023 6:30 am

Help wanted sign (Image via Flickr | CC-BY-SA 2.0/The Daily Montanan).

Happy weekend, all. 

Pennsylvania’s unemployment was 3.8% in June, matching the lowest rate recorded back in 1976, according to state data released on Friday.

The June unemployment rate is down two-tenths of a percentage point from the May rate of 4%, according to the Department of Labor and Industry.

The commonwealth’s June 2023 unemployment rate is one-half of a percentage point below its June 2022 rate of 4.3%, state data shows.

Nationally, the unemployment rate was 3.6% in June, a slight drop from 3.7% in May.

In Pennsylvania, non-farm jobs were up 7,300 over the month to a record high of 6,131,900 in June.

As always, the top five stories from this week are below.

Democratic Allegheny County executive candidate Sara Innamorato (Pittsburgh City Paper photo).

1. Innamorato resigns Pa. House seat ahead of Allegheny County Executive election

Pennsylvania State Rep. Sara Innamorato D-Allegheny, the Democrats’ nominee for Allegheny County executive, said Wednesday she is resigning from her House seat.

The move leaves Democrats with the same number of seats in the House as Republicans, at least until a special election on Sept. 19. House Speaker Joanna McClinton sent a writ of election to Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt and the Allegheny County Elections Board on Wednesday ordering the election to replace Innamorato.

Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Chancellor Daniel Greenstein speaks at a press conference on Oct. 18, 2022. (Commonwealth Media Services)

2. Amid state budget impasse, PASSHE board approves tuition freeze for fifth consecutive year

For the fifth consecutive year, tuition at schools within the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, typically $7,716 for in-state students, remains unchanged.

The PASSHE Board of Governors unanimously voted to freeze tuition and technology rates for the 2023-24 academic year on Thursday, hoping that the $585.6 million included in the state budget — currently at an impasse and nearly one month past the June 30 deadline — stays in the finalized spending plan.

For out-of-state students, tuition ranges from $9,600 to $19,290.

In June, nearly 2 million Pennsylvanians were receiving federal SNAP benefits, as the commonwealth’s charitable food system has seen an increase in need. (Getty Images)

3. As Pa. sees record number of SNAP recipients, advocates call for a minimum wage increase

Pennsylvania recorded its highest-ever number of food-assistance recipients — nearly 2 million Pennsylvanians — in June, alarming already strained charitable food pantries and increasing concern among researchers and anti-hunger advocates.

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services reported that in June 5,000 additional residents had enrolled in SNAP, the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, bringing the total number of Pennsylvanians receiving benefits to 1,982,872.

The record-level increase comes just months after the end of expanded emergency programs that increased monthly benefits to help those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Joe Biden speaks on renewable energy at the Philly Shipyard on July 20, 2023 in Philadelphia. Biden attended a ribbon cutting at the shipyard for a new offshore wind vessel called the Acadia which will be employed in the building of offshore wind farms. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

4. President Joe Biden brings ‘Bidenomics’ tour to Philly Shipyard

In his sixth trip to the City of Brotherly Love so far this year, President Joe Biden visited the Philly Shipyard on Thursday to tout his record on manufacturing and clean energy jobs, and the economy in general.

“I’m here today to talk about what we’re doing to invest in America, invest in Pennsylvania, invest in our clean energy future, and to talk about the progress we’ve made building an economy from the middle out and the bottom up,” Biden said.

It was the second time a Biden has visited the Keystone State this week: First Lady Jill Biden stopped in Pittsburgh on Tuesday as part of the Investing in America tour. Pittsburgh is one of five regional workforce hubs the White House identified in May, along with Augusta, Columbus, Baltimore and Phoenix, which will be used to train employees for in-demand jobs.

Hundreds of protesters rally in Harrisburg on Saturday, May 14, 2022, to promote abortion access. (Capital-Star photo by Marley Parish)

5. Pa. lawmakers introduce Abortion Protections Package, proposing safeguards for patients, providers

Just over a year after the U.S. Supreme Court gave state legislatures authority over abortion and its legality, two Pennsylvania Democrats are preparing a legislative package ensuring protections for reproductive care.

Sens. Amanda Cappelletti, D-Delaware, and Judith Schwank, D-Berks, plan to introduce a six-part proposal, the Abortion Protections Package, that offers safeguards for providers and for in-state and out-of-state patients looking to access reproductive care, including abortion, in Pennsylvania.

“This legislation would bolster Pennsylvania’s commitment to legal abortion while sending a clear message to neighboring states that we will not be bullied,” Schwank said in a statement.

And that’s the week. We’ll see you back here next week. 

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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.