YORK, Pa. (WHTM) — Economists have never before seen ultra-low unemployment coincide with a recession.

To be clear: No one is sure yet if America is in a recession, despite increasing signs that might be the case. But what’s certain is that unemployment remains low nationally — and particularly low in central Pennsylvania.

All six of the Midstate’s metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), as defined by the U.S. Census, have rates below the commonwealth’s average of 4 percent.

Here are Midstate unemployment rates for the most recent month available (May 2022) compared to a year earlier (May 2021):

AreaMay 2021May 2022
Pennsylvania statewide6.6%4.0%
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

With nearly every organization looking for workers — and with some people still looking for jobs, or at least better jobs than the ones they have — 51 companies set up tables Thursday at PeoplesBank Park for the York Hiring Fair.

When abc27 News visited, some jobseekers were there too, but they weren’t exactly lining up to get in and elbowing each other other of the way to get in front of prospective employers.

And that — according to Eric Menzer, CEO of the York Revolution baseball team, which co-hosted the event with the York County Economic Alliance — is the norm nowadays.

“It used to be, events like this were about quantity where, you know, you’d want hundreds and hundreds of potential applicants in the door,” Menzer said. “That never happens anymore. Most of these employers will tell you if they find one good employee out of the four hours they spend here today, that is time very well spent.”

Surprising then — given all that demand for workers — that anyone is unemployed? Maybe not, said Tiffany Graham, career services coordinator with the York County School of Technology’s Adult & Continuing Education Center.

“It’s not that there’s not enough of people out there to work these jobs,” Graham said. “It’s just that a lot of times they’re missing the skills, and they’re lacking the knowledge of how to successfully complete that job.”

And anyway, Menzer said, not everyone who goes to a career fair is unemployed.

“They might have had two part-time jobs that they were scraping together,” he said. “Now they’re going to get one full-time job at a higher pay rate, fewer hours. So that’s the thing that’s happening inside of at least the York economy that we see, that is sort of hidden when you just read about low unemployment.”