HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate dropped in March to the lowest rate on record, as payrolls hit a new record high and unemployment shrank to its lowest level since 2000, the state Department of Labor and Industry said.
Pennsylvania, one of the nation’s slowest-growing state economies in recent decades, saw its unemployment rate drop by one-tenth of a percentage point to 3.9% last month, the department said.
Pennsylvania’s rate had twice previously hit 4% since 1976, which is as far back as the state says its records go.
The improvements in Pennsylvania are tracking national trends.
The national unemployment rate was 3.8% in March. Among states, Pennsylvania is tied with Connecticut and Georgia for the 31st-lowest unemployment rate.
A survey of households found Pennsylvania’s civilian labor force grew by 5,000, as employment rose by 10,000 to a new record high of more than 6.2 million. Unemployment shrank by 6,000 to 255,000, its lowest level since 2000.
A separate survey of employers showed seasonally adjusted non-farm payrolls rose by 4,000, to a record high above 6 million. The biggest gainers were the education and health services sector and the professional and business services sector. The construction sector lost the most jobs in March.
March’s figures are preliminary and could change.