HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate dropped by two-tenths of a point in March to 4.9%, another indication the state’s jobs picture continues to strengthen. The Labor and Industry Department said Friday the decrease mirrored the national picture, as U.S. joblessness fell by the same fraction, to 3.6%.

The labor force continued to grow, with nonfarm payrolls up by nearly 16,000 to some 5.9 million. Increases were seen widely across employment categories. Professional and business services led the growth with a gain of 7,600.

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Pennsylvania unemployment is now 2.2 percentage points below where it was one year ago. Leisure and hospitality businesses have added 70,000 jobs over the past 12 months.

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Labor and Industry Secretary Jennifer Berrier says the state “continues to rebound strongly” from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pennsylvania’s labor force peaked at almost 6.6 million just before the pandemic began.

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