PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) — Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate declined to 3.9% in December 2022, according to a preliminary report from the state Department of Labor and Industry (L&I).

The decline by one-tenth of a percentage point over the month set a new record low, the department said. The commonwealth’s unemployment rate was 1.6 percentage points below its December 2021 level, L&I noted.

“Pennsylvania’s new record low unemployment rate of 3.9% is encouraging. Pennsylvanians are reentering the workforce, launching new careers and pursuing jobs that sustain their families. Opportunity abounds today for Pennsylvania workers,” said L&I Acting Secretary Nancy Walker.

The estimated number of Pennsylvania residents working or looking for work — the civilian labor force — was up 9,000 over the month, the department said.

“We also know that a historically tight labor market presents its own challenges, particularly for employers who need workers with specialized skillsets. L&I’s role in providing services to workers and employers is as critical as ever, and we are committed to meeting those challenges and building a Pennsylvania economy that works for everyone,” said Walker.

According to the department, from April 2020 to December 2022, Pennsylvania recovered about 95% of the jobs that were lost during the first two months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nationally, the unemployment rate fell to 3.5% in December. That national rate was down four-tenths of a percentage point over the year, according to L&I.