Institute Looks at Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Employment in Pennsylvania

Continuing its analysis on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Pennsylvania, the Institute of State and Regional Affairs (ISRA) at Penn State Harrisburg has released a report comparing the economic impact of the pandemic on business sectors in Pennsylvania. The report — which is one tool that may be used to inform decision-making by local officials — found that unemployment claims grew at an alarming rate from the week of March 21 through the week of April 11, totaling nearly 1.7 million cases, and that cases may continue to grow past 2 million.

“As the commonwealth reopens, statewide leaders have many factors to consider. It is important that tools being used to support decision-making related to economic impacts pay attention to the job sectors that were hardest hit,” said Philip Sirinides, director of ISRA.

Using employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s definition of essential businesses paired with data on establishments, employment, and unemployment claims, the new report assesses the economic impact of the pandemic in Pennsylvania. The report found that at least 1.2 million employees worked in industries impacted by business establishment closures.