Pittsburgh-region jobless rate falls, brought down by people leaving labor force

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The unemployment rate in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area fell for November to 6.6 percent from the 6.7 percent unemployment rate in October, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry reported this morning.

The rate, seasonally-adjusted to remove seasonal spikes and dips, was down from October's rate because the region's labor force contracted by 1,700 workers who left the labor force, not because of workers reporting higher employment.

The unemployment rate is factored from the results of a telephone survey to households. In that survey the number of people who reported they were working fell by 1,100 workers and the number of people who said they were unemployed and looking for work also fell by 700 workers.

While unemployment in the region was below the 7.3 percent of November 2012, much of the drop can be attributed to workers who have stopped looking for work in the region. Over that year 1,600 more people are working, while 8,700 fewer people report that they are unemployed. The labor market from November 2012 to Noveember 2013 lost 7,100 workers in the region.

In the seven-county region, which includes Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland Counties, only Beaver County, which had an unemployment rate of 7.5 both in November 2012 and November 2013, saw growth in its labor force during the year.

In each of the six other counties in the region, which all showed year-over-year declines in unemployment, those declines were, at least in part, caused by a shrinking labor force.

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