Help wanted signs for servers and cooks at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and Spa are displayed along route 40 at the entrance to the resort in Farmington, Pa., in September. People continue to look for work in the state. Job Market
Help wanted signs for servers and cooks at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and Spa are displayed along route 40 at the entrance to the resort in Farmington, Pa., in September. People continue to look for work in the state.

Unemployment rates and job losses continue to climb in PA suburban and rural counties as Trump campaigns for a second term.

The employment outlook in Pennsylvania—even before the pandemic—was not too promising, with suburban counties getting hit the hardest with job losses.

And the recovery surge started by the Obama administration has all but fizzled out under President Donald Trump, according to research done by the center-left group Third Way based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Local Area Unemployment Statistics monthly county-level data.

Statewide, the unemployment rate at the end of Barack Obama’s presidency was 313,064, with an average of 3,024 jobs added per month during his second term. As of August, the state’s unemployment rate is 664,886. Job gains per month were 3,025 in Trump’s first term, pre-pandemic. When the pandemic is included, that number nose dives to 10,232 jobs lost per month.

Suburban job growth in the state during Obama’s second term soared, with 2,422 jobs added per month and 173,575 unemployed at the end of his presidency. But that isn’t the case anymore and it’s not just due to the pandemic. During Trump’s first term, job gains were only at 1,731 per month from January 2017 to February 2020. Adding the pandemic months, the average falls to 5,740 jobs lost per month. Suburban unemployment was at 368,178 in August.

Rural Pennsylvania counties saw a slight improvement during Trump’s first term, with an average of 88 jobs added per month. At the end of Obama’s second term, rural communities were losing jobs at a rate of 265 per month. But the positive upswing was completely erased due to the pandemic and the average is now at a loss of 2,239 jobs per month.

Unemployment in the rural landscape was at 115,516 as of August, compared to 65,367 when Obama left office.

While urban counties tend to vote for Democrats, it was Trump who improved the employment outlook for these areas. Pre-pandemic, urban jobs increased at an average of 1,206 per month, as compared to 867 at the end of the last administration. The pandemic once again played havoc with the promising growth and reduced the average to 2,253 jobs lost per month. Urban unemployment stands at 181,192 with Trump, up from 74,122 when Obama left office.