Working in Pennsylvania

Working in Pennsylvania

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is one of the largest states located in the Mid-Atlantic. Rich in American history, The Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia. The state is named after William Penn, one of the founding fathers. It is also known as the Keystone State.

Pennsylvania has a diverse employment landscape of metropolitan industry, farming and government service. There are over 175,000 job openings with nursing and healthcare requiring the most workers. Cashiers hold the most jobs and state projections foresee they will continue to do so through 2018.

The average yearly wage is approximately $44,000 with service providers the largest non-farm employers. Most Pennsylvanians are employed in office and administration positions with those the legal profession holding the least.

A targeted area for job retention and creation is the energy sector, particularly natural gas. Since 2007, 72,000 jobs have been created in this sector. In early 2012, the governor signed the Marcellus Shale legislation that puts natural gas production at the forefront of economic development and sustainability.

Harrisburg-Carlisle, Pa.

Harrisburg is the state capital. There are over 80,000 Pennsylvanians employed in state and civil works positions. Wholesale/retail trade, professional and business services, hospitality, tourism and recreation are the sectors with the highest percentage of workers. It is estimated that 27 percent of the private companies in the area will be hiring in the third quarter of 2012.

The city of Harrisburg, independent of the state government, is facing a possible bankruptcy declaration due to a $68 million incinerator project. The unemployment rate is 8.3 percent, almost a full point above the state average. However, because the state government provides so many jobs for Harrisburg and the surrounding areas, along with education and healthcare, stable careers with low turnover rates preside.


Philadelphia is on par with the state unemployment rate at 7.0%. Wages are in the middle $50,000's, approximately 20 % more than the state average depending whether one works in the city or metro areas.

In an April 2012 report by the Pennsylvania Department of Industry and Labor (PDIL), trade, healthcare and social services ranked number one in providing jobs. Occupations in information were at the bottom of the PDIL's list of non-farm jobs.

Although Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, along with many other historical attractions, museums, and family entertainment venues are located in Philadelphia, the hospitality and accommodation sector ranked in the middle of all of those employed. Temporary jobs increase on a seasonal basis as tourism increases.


Pittsburgh is located in the southwestern part of the state. Once known for its thriving steel mills, the steel industry in Pittsburgh mirrors the rest of the country and is no longer a major player in providing jobs.

The average wage in Pittsburgh is close to $38,000 which is lower than the state average. However, unemployment is at one of the lowest rates in the Keystone State at 6.3%.

Like Philadelphia, health care and social assistance leads in employment followed by retail. Manufacturing accounts for less than 10 %. The need for computer programmers with registered nurses a close second and retail right behind.