AJ Sappraicone has been out of a job for more than a month. The single father says he lost his job as fleet manager because of the pandemic.

"A lot of people getting sick and it's just scary, you know, you want to work," said Sappraicone.

Sappraicone is not alone.

U.S. unemployment rates for first-time filers spiked this week, bringing the nation's jobless rate to more than 11 million people out of work. But according to personal finance website Wallethub, Pennsylvania is ranked 9th in states whose unemployment rates are recovering the quickest.

"We are pleased with how things are going. We hope they stay that way. We know we are increasing our contact with individuals that are looking for jobs," said Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board Executive Director Nancy Dischinat.

Dischinat says local unemployment numbers have been on the decline, from roughly 53,000 in May to nearly 30,000 now.

Pennsylvania is set to release new numbers, but Dischinat says she doesn't anticipate a spike. She says that's because major employers in the area are hiring and special pandemic programs like Employer Wednesdays are helping.

"We've had Vapor Leaf, we've had FedEx Ground, we've had Nestlé Waters, we've had Boston Beer," said Dischinat.

Sappraicone says he's trying to stay hopeful he will get a job sooner rather than later.

"With this pandemic people just aren't hiring like they used to or they're kind of afraid and they're waiting to see what happens with hiring it's really tough," said Sappraicone.

For more information on jobs and job services visit the Career Link website or call for an appointment at the local office.

Dischinat says Career Link is observing COVID precautions. She says job hunters can also walk in to the office, but may have to wait due to occupancy requirements.

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