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Mining led April growth, jobless rate falls half percent

The mining and logging industry led Pennsylvania’s jobs growth in April with 7,300 new jobs, or a 23 percent increase, while unemployment fell half a percent from a year ago, according to the latest figures from the state Department of Labor and Industry.

The increases in mining and logging are a continued impact of natural gas drilling and extraction activities, department spokesman Christopher Manlove said.

“The labor force is growing, employment is growing and unemployment is declining, which means things are improving,” he said.

Statewide total employment was more than 5.9 million, a half percent increase from a month ago and 1.1 percent over last year, according to the department. Employment increased by 66,000 people in April compared to last year.

Unemployment declined by 6,000 people or 1.3 percent from March, and dropped by 33,000 or 6.5 percent compared to last year. The unemployment rate was 7.4 percent in April or half a percentage point lower than a year ago.

The difference between unemployment decreases and the larger employment in April is due to the 32,000 new workers entering the labor force, including first-time workers, as well as some who dropped out of the workforce and have come back with growing jobs, Manlove said.

Other industries seeing year-over-year jobs growth in April include:

• Leisure and hospitality, 14,200 jobs or 2.8 percent.

• Education and health services, 16,900 jobs or 1.5 percent.

• Financial activities, 3,500 jobs or 1.1 percent.

Manufacturing, 6,100 jobs or 1.1 percent.

• Trade, transportation and utilities, 7,800 jobs or 0.7 percent.

The industry jobs growth follows March numbers that illustrated declining jobless rates in Central Pennsylvania, too.

Jim T. Ryan

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