January 2016

February 01, 2016 | Revenue & Economic Update

Calendar year 2015 marks the first year that Pennsylvania payroll employment surpassed its pre-recession level. Preliminary data for 2015 reveal average employment of
5.84 million payroll jobs, 43,000 higher than 2007. 

The underlying detail reveals very different trends across sectors. In percentage terms, the mining sector (includes logging) recorded the most dramatic expansion, adding 15,300 payroll jobs (72.4% increase) since 2007. A recent contraction in the coal mining subsector was more than offset by gains in natural gas extraction. The mining sector now comprises 0.6% of total payroll employment.

In absolute terms, the healthcare sector (includes social services) added the most jobs, expanding by 106,800 payroll jobs (12.5%). This sector is typically the largest generator of jobs for the Pennsylvania economy and comprises 16.4% of total employment. The professional and business services sector (includes administrative and management) expanded by 60,500 payroll jobs (8.6%), and comprises 13.1% of total employment. The leisurehospitality sector (includes food service) also recorded significant gains, adding 49,800 payroll jobs (10.0%).

For the sectors that contracted, manufacturing recorded the largest relative and absolute decline, contracting by 91,200 payroll jobs (-13.8%). However, since 2010, the sector has stabilized and added nearly 8,000 jobs. Despite impressive recent gains, the construction sector contracted by 24,100 jobs (-9.2%) while local government contracted by 36,500 jobs (-7.5%). Roughly threequarters of the contraction in the local government sector was related to education; the residual was related to municipal functions.

These payroll data provide only a partial picture of employment trends for the Commonwealth. The data do not include self-employed individuals such as sole proprietors or independent contractors. It also excludes most partners employed in partnerships as well as owners of S corporations.

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