Pennsylvania Economic Recovery: Some Progress, But Lackluster Compared to Other States | Pennsylvania




(The Center Square) — Pennsylvania’s economy has been fortunate in the past to weather economic crises better than other states, but since the pandemic its recovery from unemployment has lagged.

In analysis of WalletHub, Pennsylvania, ranked 43rd nationally for rebounding from pandemic-induced unemployment.

Its unemployment rate of 4.6% in May was the sixth highest in the United States. While the Commonwealth had 298,000 unemployed in May 2022, 65% better than in May 2020 when it had 846,000 unemployed, it was the 14th worst in the country.

The state’s unemployment rate had been rising before the pandemic hit, rising to 4.3% in May 2019 and rising every month until it hit 5% in February 2020. Then when the pandemic hit Pennsylvania, it spiked to 16.5% in April, and has been steadily declining since then.

Among its neighbors, only Delaware was ranked below Pennsylvania. New York just edged Pennsylvania for 42nd place, but West Virginia was 18th and Ohio was a comfortable 31st.

Unemployment rates and the evolution of the number of unemployed are not everything – the number of people looking for work matters too – but other factors do not bode well for the Commonwealth either.

The state’s Independent Fiscal Office expects economic stagnation or recession over the next year as The Center Square Previously reported. A lesser focus on cyclical industries like tourism and broader sectors that are more stable for jobs, like health care, may make a recession less severe in Pennsylvania, but encouraging economic growth is a long-standing issue. , even before the pandemic.

With inflation a persistent problem and lower growth expected, full-time work could be relatively rarer.

“Contract and project work will continue to grow in 2022,” William J. Heisler, a business professor at the University of Troy, told WalletHub. “Due to labor shortages and low wages, service jobs in the fast food and hospitality industries will continue to be in demand, especially as travel restrictions related to coronavirus are reduced or eliminated.”

State lawmakers worried about how to grow during a time of inflation and held a series of inflation hearings, like The Center Square Previously reported. During these hearings, experts suggested tax reforms that would reduce the cost of growing businesses for entrepreneurs.

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