HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania — Payrolls in Pennsylvania hit a record high in February, recovering all the jobs lost in the recession, according to figures released Friday by the state Department of Labor and Industry.
Payrolls grew by about 13,000 last month to hit a record just shy of 5.83 million, the department said. Pennsylvania has seen one of its strongest post-recession periods of hiring, adding about 70,000 jobs in the last 12 months. Construction and government payrolls fell in February, while payrolls in a range of service-providing industries grew, the department said.
Hiring in Pennsylvania hit a pre-recession peak in 2008 when payrolls rose to above 5.82 million. Then the state lost more than 250,000 jobs in the recession and payrolls dipped below 5.57 million in 2010.
The nation's payrolls surpassed the pre-recession high in May.
Meanwhile, the unemployment rate in Pennsylvania slipped for the second straight month, the department said Friday. The seasonally adjusted rate in February was 5.2 percent, up from 5.1 percent in January and 5 percent in December.
The U.S. rate was 5.5 percent in February.
In a survey of households, the department estimates that Pennsylvania's labor force, or the number of people working or looking for work, grew by 7,000, still below its 2012 peak. Employment rose by 2,000, climbing higher above 6 million, while unemployment grew by 6,000 to 329,000.