Reading, PA – December 2023 Jobs Report – Holiday Hiring Heats Up, Healthcare Holds Steady

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Reading’s labor market concluded 2023 on a positive note, adding jobs for the fifth consecutive month and pushing the unemployment rate down to a two-year low. The December report, however, painted a picture of a two-paced recovery, with certain sectors surging while others remained stagnant.


  • Positive job growth: Reading added 870 jobs in December, bringing the total nonfarm employment to 208,900. This represents a 0.4% increase from November and a 4.3% gain year-over-year.
  • Unemployment dips: The unemployment rate fell to 3.1%, the lowest since December 2021. This marks a significant improvement from the 4.5% recorded in December 2022.
  • Sectoral disparities: While healthcare and professional services continued to be job creation engines, sectors like manufacturing and retail saw limited growth or even job losses.

What Industries and Occupations Grew:

  • Healthcare: Healthcare added 180 jobs in December, led by positions in home healthcare services and hospitals. Registered nurses, nursing assistants, and medical technicians were among the most in-demand occupations.
  • Professional services: Professional, scientific, and technical services added 150 jobs, with gains in engineering, accounting, and computer systems analyst roles.

What Industries and Occupations Shrank:

  • Manufacturing: The manufacturing sector shed 50 jobs in December, continuing a trend of slow growth observed throughout 2023. Production worker positions in durable goods manufacturing saw the most significant declines.
  • Retail: Retail trade remained flat in December, adding only 20 jobs. This comes amidst ongoing challenges in the brick-and-mortar retail landscape.

Compare to Same Month Last Year:

Compared to December 2022, Reading’s job market has exhibited significant improvement. The city added 3,100 jobs over the past year, representing a 1.5% increase. The unemployment rate is also down considerably from 3.8% in December 2022.

Compare to Previous Month:

December’s job growth was slightly slower than November’s 1,000 jobs added. However, the unemployment rate continued its downward trend, indicating ongoing labor market improvement.

Future Outlook:

The Reading Area Chamber of Commerce predicts continued job growth in 2024, albeit at a slightly slower pace than 2023. Healthcare, professional services, and logistics are expected to remain key drivers of job creation. Potential challenges include ongoing supply chain disruptions and rising interest rates.

10 Growing Occupations in Reading:

  1. Registered Nurses
  2. Nursing Assistants
  3. Software Developers
  4. Truck Drivers
  5. Accountants and Auditors
  6. Physical Therapists
  7. Home Health Aides
  8. Marketing Specialists
  9. General Laborers
  10. Customer Service Representatives

10 Companies Hiring Now in Reading:

  1. Tower Health
  2. Penske Truck Leasing
  3. Ancora Education
  4. Carpenter Technology Corporation
  5. Wyomissing Area Health System
  6. Berks County Intermediate Unit
  7. U.S. Customs and Border Protection
  8. Boscov’s Department Stores
  9. Berks County Community Foundation
  10. Reading Public Library