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Labor Surplus Areas

Twelve areas in Pennsylvania are included on the latest Labor Surplus Area (LSA) listing, as determined by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Employment and Training Administration.

Labor Surplus Area lists are used when deciding the recipients of federal government contracts. These areas have preference for contracts awarded under the federal procurement process. Struggling businesses and organizations receive extra consideration when their township, city or county appears on a LSA listing.

Labor surplus areas are classified on the basis of civil jurisdictions. Civil jurisdictions are defined as all cities and townships of at least 25,000 population and all counties.

In order to qualify as a LSA, an area (city, township, county or balance of county) must have an unemployment rate that is the higher of 1.2 times the national average during the reference period, or, the floor rate of 6.0 percent during periods of low national unemployment. The current reference period is January 2018 through December 2019 and has a national average unemployment rate of 3.38 percent during this span. Because the national average unemployment rate times 1.2 (which equals 4.6 percent) is below the floor rate, the rounded qualifying rate is the floor rate of 6.0 percent.

The current list of Pennsylvania labor surplus areas includes those that had a floor unemployment rate for the January 2018 through December 2019 reference period.

The DOL issues the LSA listing on a fiscal year basis. The current list of LSAs will be in effect from October 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021. Below is a map and list of Pennsylvania’s LSAs for fiscal year 2021. Areas not meeting the criteria may qualify by special petition from the state’s employment security agency to the U.S. Department of Labor, if they meet additional specifications.

For more information, please visit ‘Labor Surplus Area’ at the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) website.


City Labor Surplus Areas

Allentown, Chester, Easton, Harrisburg, Hazleton, Johnstown, Lebanon, New Castle, Reading, Wilkes-Barre, York

County Labor Surplus Areas


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