Pennsylvania’s Still-Lagging Economic Growth: PA job and unemployment trends through April 2014

Natalie Sabadish
Stephen Herzenberg
Publication Date: 
June 17, 2014

Read the press release.

Executive Summary

Every fall, the Keystone Research Center (KRC) releases The State of Working Pennsylvania, a detailed analysis of employment, unemployment, wages, poverty, and income trends in the state.[1] In March 2014, release an updated analysis of Pennsylvania’s economic performance at the state, county, and city levels through the end of 2013.[2]  This brief provides an additional update on jobs and unemployment performance in Pennsylvania through the first four months of 2014.

After several consecutive years of declining job growth, Pennsylvania’s economy is showing some signs of improvement so far this year. At its current rate, job growth in 2014 will likely outpace employment gains in both 2012 and 2013. Additionally, the state unemployment rate has made progress relative to the national rate this year. However, Pennsylvania still ranks in the bottom fifth of states measured by percent job growth over the past 12 months and also trails behind most of our neighboring states. Over the longer period that goes back to January 2011, Pennsylvania remains second-to-last in job growth – 49th – among the 50 states.

Economic performance at the local level is more variable both over time and between areas. About one third (23) of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties experienced greater job growth in the past 12 months compared to 2010, while 38 experienced slower job growth.

Taken as a whole, both the national and Pennsylvania economic recoveries have been slow, with the economy remaining even today far from “full employment.” As a result, national and state policymakers should make more robust job growth a top priority in budget negotiations and other policy contexts.

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[1] Mark Price and Stephen Herzenberg, The State of Working Pennsylvania 2013, Keystone Research Center, online at

[2] Stephen Herzenberg, Pennsylvania’s Lagging Economic Growth: An examination of state employment from 2009 to 2013, Keystone Research Center, online at