Pennsylvania unemployment rate hits record low

Pennsylvania unemployment rate hits record low
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Pennsylvania's unemployment rate dropped in March, becoming the lowest on record as the state noted its highest level of employed citizens in recorded history.

The state's Department of Labor (DOL) reported Wednesday that the state's unemployment rate now sits at 3.9 percent, just above the national unemployment rate of 3.8 percent for March. The state has only hit 4 percent unemployment twice since it began recording the statistic in 1976.

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The number of employed people in Pennsylvania was 6.2 million in March, a record high, suggesting that the state's workforce is growing at a rate that could become too much for employers to absorb, according to the news service. Just 255,000 Pennsylvanians are currently unemployed, the DOL said.

Kurt Rankin, a Pittsburgh economist, told The Associated Press that anecdotal evidence pointed to local employers still being unable to find workers with necessary skills for some jobs, including construction and manufacturing positions.

“What that could translate into is something that Pennsylvania could use, which is a stronger wage growth trend,” Rankin said.

Wage growth in Pennsylvania has lagged behind other states such as Ohio and Michigan, according to the AP.

"Comparing Pennsylvania against itself is where these numbers allow you to say that Pennsylvania is doing well,” he added.

Weekly national jobless claims hit their lowest level since 1969 earlier this month, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, which reported that 196,000 people applied for unemployment insurance in the first week of April.