Slight drop in Pittsburgh region's jobless rate

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Unemployment in the seven-county Pittsburgh region declined one-tenth of a percentage point to 7.2 percent in November, the state Department of Labor and Industry announced Thursday.

The area covered by the report -- Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland counties -- had a combined seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate that was lower than the state's rate of 7.8 percent or the national rate of 7.7 percent in November.

The unemployment rate, which is based on a survey of households, showed the regional labor force grew by 1,000, with 2,900 more people reporting they had jobs in November than in October even as 2,000 fewer reported being unemployed. Those numbers should add up, but were slightly askew due to rounding.

A second survey, which polls employers, showed the region gained a total of 4,500 jobs, including 1,000 in the government sector that had seen big losses in previous months. The numbers are not seasonally adjusted.

In the public sector, the federal government cut 200 jobs during the month while the state government added 500, bringing that sector even with its employment levels of November 2011.

PG graphic: Regional jobless rate 7.2%
(Click image for larger version)

Local municipalities cut 100 jobs in November, but the public schools added 800 jobs in November. Since last year, there are 2,300 fewer positions in local municipalities with 800 fewer jobs in the public schools.

Retail trade added 4,700 jobs in November as part of the seasonal employment boost caused by the run up to the holidays. That was 700 more jobs than the same time last year.

Financial services also added jobs, 1,000 over the month and 4,000 since November 2011.

Education and health services added 1,600 during November but the sector was down 800 jobs from November 2011. The loss can be explained in part by cuts to social service agencies, which eliminated 100 jobs during November and a total of 1,200 jobs since November 2011.

In addition, colleges and universities have cut 900 jobs since last November, though they did add 300 jobs during November 2012. Hospitals added 100 jobs during the month and 400 over the prior 12 months. Physicians offices also added 100 jobs in November and 500 from a year ago.

While the service sector added 5,100 jobs, goods producers were cutting back. Construction companies cut 400 jobs in November and are down by 2,200 from last year. Manufacturing cut 300 jobs, with 400 jobs lost in durable goods but 100 jobs added in non-durable goods in November. Overall the manufacturing sector is up by 900 jobs from last year.

Leisure and hospitality employers cut 3,700 jobs during the month, with 1,300 jobs lost at bars and restaurants. Overall the sector is still up from the same month last year with 3,300 more jobs.

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Ann Belser: abelser@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1699.


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