Change Indicator

Unemployment - Adults who are unemployed in Pennsylvania

Unemployment - Adults who are unemployed

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Why This Indicator Matters

Unemployment refers to the share of workers in the labor force who do not currently have a job but are actively looking for work.[1] The unemployment rate is based on a proportion of the labor force, not the population as a whole, and excludes students, retirees, and those who stay at home to care for family members.[2] Unemployment is considered one of the most important economic indicators, as it is viewed as a measure of the economy’s overall health, and regularly receives a significant amount media coverage. Parental job loss has been associated with many adverse outcomes for children related to future economic mobility, educational attainment, and life satisfaction.[3] Statistics surrounding unemployment seek to address the extent and nature of the problem and can be used by policymakers to determine if intervention is needed to aid in economic recovery.[4] Data shows that unemployment in the United States was gradually declining between 2009 and 2019, however, took a sudden spike in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, as of 2024, unemployment has returned to the pre-pandemic rate and economic prospects for families are on an upward trend again.

[1] Economic Policy Institute. (2024). Useful Definitions.

[2] Aaronson, S. (2021). What Does the Unemployment Rate Measure? Brookings Institute.

[3] Nikolova, M., & Nikolaev, B. N. (2021). Family Matters: The Effects of Parental Unemployment in Early Childhood and Adolescence on Subjective Well-Being Later in Life. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 181, 312-331.

[4] Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2015). How the Government Measures Unemployment.

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Definition and Source



The number and percent of adults who are not working.

Data Source

Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, Center for Workforce Information and Analysis, Annual Average Labor Force Data for State, County, City Levels, Not Seasonally Adjusted.

Last Updated

January 2023