Survey ranks Pa. among state’s top employers

A new survey conducted by Forbes Magazine and Statista ranks Pennsylvania among the leading employers in the state. 

On the list of 97 state employers, Pennsylvania is one of four government entities to be named, Gov. Josh Shapiro announced. 

“The commonwealth offers Pennsylvanians a chance to serve one another every day,” Shapiro said in a statement. “We’re emphasizing skills and experience in hiring for government jobs and state troopers, investing in mental health resources for our employees and their families, and expanding internship and apprenticeship programs to bring more people into state government to create new pipelines for talent.”

Secretary of Administration Neil Weaver said state agencies need qualified employees to help deliver services relied on by residents.

“I believe the opportunity to have a rewarding career and make a positive impact through public service makes us stand apart from most employers,” said Weaver. “Our recruiters are attending hundreds of job fairs each year in schools and communities across the state to raise awareness about all that we have to offer.”

Skills and experience are emphasized in state hiring, along with the following:

  • Expanding internship opportunities for high school and college students to raise awareness of public service and create new pipelines for talent. 
  • Creating internships and apprenticeships for non-degree students pursuing careers in a variety of fields. 
  • Offering the William and Hannah Penn Fellowship for job seekers with advanced degrees. 
  • Establishing a Commonwealth Chief Diversity Officer to lead diversity, equity, belonging, and inclusion initiatives across Commonwealth agencies.

Another recent survey by Forbes and Statista had Pennsylvania ranked nationally as a leading employer by recent college graduates.

Forbes partnered with market research firm Statista to survey 70,000 employees across the U.S. Participants were asked if they would recommend their employer to family and friends, and to evaluate their employer on company image, compensation packages, diversity, potential for development, and working conditions.

Small businesses seek to benefit from Shapiro Administration’s new prompt pay policy

A prompt pay policy requiring prime contractors to pay small diverse and veteran-owned business subcontractors faster on state contracts has been implemented by the Shapiro Administration.

Pennsylvania Department of General Services (DGS) Secretary Reggie McNeil announced the policy implementation Thursday. The new prompt pay policy requires non-construction prime contractors to pay their small diverse business (SBD) and veteran-owned business enterprise (VBE) subcontractors within 10 days of receipt of payment from the commonwealth. 

The policy will not affect the payment rate for construction programs which is statutorily mandated at 14 days.

McNeil said the policy will ensure small diverse businesses and veteran-owned businesses providing goods and services to the commonwealth are paid quickly to improve their experience in the state contracting system.

“We all know the important role access to capital plays in the sustainability of our small business community, and the sooner these businesses are paid for their goods and services, the sooner they can invest it in the next opportunity that will strengthen and grow their business,” McNeil said in a statement.

In addition to the prompt pay policy, the following improvements have been implemented:

  • Reducing the time it takes to certify a small business with DGS by 33%. 
  • Conducting frequent Supplier Search workshops aimed at educating small minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses on the available contracting opportunities within DGS’s construction and commodities bureaus. 
  • Monthly notifications of upcoming contracting opportunities to allow for better resource planning and statewide outreach efforts to grow the pool of registered SBs/SDBs/VBEs. 

“By helping our small diverse and veteran-owned businesses succeed, we’re growing our economy and supporting good-paying jobs across Pennsylvania,” McNeil said.

Pa. July unemployment rate reaches record low

Pennsylvania’s July unemployment rate fell to 3.5%, an historic low that matches the national unemployment rate, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) announced Friday. 

Dropping by three-tenths of a percentage point in July to 3.5%, the state’s unemployment rate fell to the lowest on record dating to January 1976. Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate was 0.8 percentage points below its level of 4.3% in July 2022. 

The state’s civilian labor force, which is the estimated number of residents working or looking for work, fell by 9,000 in July. The resident employment rate for the month increased by 6,000 and unemployment dropped by 15,000. 

Nonfarm jobs in Pennsylvania increased by 14,400 over the month to a record high of 6,149,000. It marked the seventh straight month employment has set a new high. Eight of the 11 industry supersectors saw employment increase, the largest being in education and health services, which rose by 6,700 to a new high. Business and professional services also reached a record high. 

Total nonfarm jobs over the year increased by 143,000 with all 11 supersectors seeing gains. The largest gain among supersectors was in education and health services, which rose by 45,200.

Pa. unemployment claims decrease

Pennsylvania ranks 39th among states in which unemployment claims were lower than in the previous week, according to updated rankings by WalletHub. 

Regarding the change in unemployment claims last week versus the previous week, Pennsylvania’s numbers decreased 20.4%. Regarding the change in unemployment claims last week versus the same week pre-pandemic, Pennsylvania’s claims were down 4.1%. 

Pennsylvania ranks 47th nationally in unemployment claims per 100,000 people in the labor force. 

Amid the slowing of inflation, new unemployment claims decreased 3% week-over-week on July 17. South Carolina ranks No. 1 on the list, followed by Kentucky at No. 2 and Mississippi at No. 3. Arkansas (4), Alabama (5), Michigan (6), Missouri (7), Maine (8), Maryland (9), and Wisconsin (10) completed the top 10. 

The bottom 10 consisted of No. 42 Hawaii, District of Columbia (43), Oregon (44), Massachusetts (45), West Virginia (46), Utah (47), California (48), Colorado (49), Ohio (50), and Vermont (51). 

Except for Colorado and Vermont, each state boasted unemployment claims last week that were lower than in the previous week. Every state also had unemployment claims last week that were lower than in the same week pre-pandemic (2019) except for West Virginia, Hawaii, Tennessee, Nebraska, Idaho, California, Nevada, Texas, Connecticut, Georgia, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Indiana, Minnesota, Colorado, Utah, Vermont, and Ohio. 

Vermont, Ohio, and Massachusetts were among the 29 states whose unemployment claims last week were worse than the same week last year. 

WalletHub Analyst Jill Gonzalez said record low unemployment figures should not be expected to continue much longer. 

“The Federal Reserve rate hikes have already started a slowing of inflation, which in turn will cause unemployment numbers to increase,” Gonzalez said in a release. “The hikes, coupled with the chances of a recession in the next 12 months at over 70 percent, are two leading causes of why we will see record-low unemployment come to an end sooner rather than later.” 

Gonzalez said certain job types are still seeing higher levels of unemployment currently. 

“For instance, construction jobs have very high unemployment numbers right now due to building activity slowdown, with higher interest rates lowering demand for new individual housing,” said Gonzalez. “Farming, fishing, and forestry jobs are also seeing high unemployment, which has more to do with technological advances and less about the current economy or pandemic recovery.”

Pa. unemployment rate for June reaches record low

Declining two-tenths of a percentage point in June, Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate for the month reached a record low of 3.8%, the lowest since January 1976. 

The national unemployment rate also dropped, going down one-tenth of a percentage point from May to 3.6%. 

The estimated number of Pennsylvania residents working or seeking work declined 4,000 in June. The month also saw resident employment rise by 10,000 and unemployment decline by 13,000. 

The state’s total nonfarm jobs increased 7,300 in June to a record high of 6,131,900. The increase marked the sixth straight month employment has hit an all-time high. Employment increased in six of the 11 industry supersectors, the largest gain being in professional and business services, which reached a record high. 

Total nonfarm jobs increased 154,000 over the year, with gains in each of the 11 supersectors. Education and health services increased 49,400, the largest volume over-the-year gain among supersectors.

Pennsylvania ranks among nation’s top employers, Forbes’ study says

A new survey conducted by Forbes Magazine and market research firm Statista ranks the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania among the top employers in the nation. 

Gov. Josh Shapiro announced the rankings Friday, noting that Pennsylvania is one of just six states included in the list of top employers by college graduates. 

“Under my Administration, we are making sure Pennsylvanians know that the doors of opportunity are wide open to those who want to serve our Commonwealth,” Shapiro said in a statement. “Whether you’re a recent college graduate or have gained skills and experiences outside the classroom, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a great place to work where state employers are committed to serving our communities every single day.” 

Forbes partnered with Statista in surveying more than 28,000 young and early career professionals (less than 10 years of work experience) working for U.S. companies with at least 1,000 employees. The survey period ran from February to March 2023 and participants were asked to rate their employer in areas such as atmosphere and working hours, benefits and salary, career advancement, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), education, quality of work, performance recognition, reputation, and whether employees would recommend the company to family and friends.

Graduates who work for the state may qualify for tuition forgiveness under the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, as well as scholarships to continue their education at a State System of Higher Education university. Benefits include flexible work schedules and telework schedules for certain positions, access to free mental health counseling and wellness resources, and opportunities for professional development and advancement.

“We’re breaking down barriers for those who want to work with us, and that’s why I signed an executive order emphasizing skills and experience in hiring for state government jobs, appointed a chief diversity officer to work across all of our agencies, and expanded internships to expose more students to public service,” Shapiro said. “No matter what you look like, where you come from, who you love, or who you pray to, you have a place here in Pennsylvania, and I am building an Administration that represents the entire Commonwealth and gives folks a real opportunity to succeed.”

Secretary of Administration Neil Weaver, whose office oversees recruitment and hiring, said that as Pennsylvania employs residents in a variety of career fields, hundreds of job openings exist across the state.

“If you are looking for a job that makes a difference, we want to hear from you,” said Weaver.

PA unemployment rate drops to 4% in May, lowest on record

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate in May declined one-tenth of a percentage point to 4%, the lowest rate on record, which goes back to January 1976, the state Department of Labor & Industry reported.

The data, subject to revision, is from L&I’s preliminary employment situation report for last month.

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate was three-tenths of a percentage point below its May 2022 level.

The commonwealth’s civilian labor force – the estimated number of residents working or looking for work – was up 1,000 over the month. Resident employment rose by 9,000 in May and unemployment fell by 9,000.

Pennsylvania’s total nonfarm jobs were up 7,900 over the month to a record high of 6,122,500 in May. This was the fifth month in a row that jobs set an all-time high.

Jobs increased from April to May in nine of the 11 industry supersectors; the largest gain was in professional and business services (+3,700), which rose to a record.

Over the year, total nonfarm jobs were up 151,500 with gains in all supersectors. Among them, the education and health services (+47,800) supersector had the largest volume over-the-year gain.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer