Pennsylvania’s Job Losses in 2020

Summary of Study

The coronavirus pandemic hammered Pennsylvania’s economy in 2020.  With recently released state employer payroll data for December, the extent of the damage can clearly be seen. Thousands of Pennsylvanians lost jobs in nearly every sector, pushing employment to decade-ago levels.

Read the full policy report here.

Feature Charticle

Allegheny Institute for Public Policy


  • In 2020, the average monthly non-farm jobs count in the state was 5.617 million, a decline of 7.36 percent from 2019’s average of 6.064 million and the lowest count since 2009, when the monthly average was 5.616 million.
  • Nationally, the average monthly number of non-farm jobs in 2020 was 142.22 million, down 5.75 percent from 2019 (150.94 million) and the lowest annual number since 2015 (141.83 million).
  • The annual monthly average of government employment in 2020 was just 2.25 percent lower than in 2019, reflecting an increase in federal jobs of 3.3 percent.
  • Every major component of the leisure and hospitality industry (eating places, hotels, recreational facilities, etc.) recorded lower job counts in 2020, finishing with 26 percent fewer jobs than in 2019.
  • The trade, transportation, and utilities sector had a fall in the average monthly level of employment of 6.55 percent from 2019 to 2020. Even retail trade had losses of 8.5 percent despite grocery and general merchandise stores remaining open.
  • To encourage job growth in the future the Commonwealth should not raise the minimum wage. Raising the minimum wage is a tone-deaf measure that will only exacerbate the job losses for sectors that offer low-skilled labor the all-important entry into the workplace.
  • The state must facilitate a business climate that is conducive to growth, such as by reducing regulations and lowering tax levels on these companies, which will encourage them to grow and prosper.

Read the full policy report here.