Unemployment drops in Pittsburgh area, but so does number of available jobs

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In the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area, unemployment fell from 6.3 percent in December to 6 percent in January, but that number alone is not an accurate reflection of the employment picture.

In one month, the number of people who had jobs in the region fell by 2,400 while the labor force fell by 6,900. The labor force is made up of the number of people who are either working or who are looking for work. The numbers are all seasonally-adjusted to take out spikes and dips in employment.

In a comparison of January 2013 to this past January, the labor force has dropped by 22,400, which accounts for a large portion of the dip in the unemployment rate. The overwhelming majority of them were unemployed people who had given up looking for work.

The seven-county region is made up of Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland counties.

The region also lost 30,100 jobs from December to January. The jobs statistic is not seasonally-adjusted and part of that loss was a regular occurrence from December to January as retailers, which cut 6,300 jobs, shed their seasonal workforce. However, retailers in the region also cut their workforce down by 1,100 jobs in January when compared to January 2013.

Construction, which lost 5,100 jobs in January, was up by 100 jobs from January 2013.

Administrative and support services, a category that includes temporary jobs, lost 5,000 jobs in January from December’s job count and was down by 2,700 jobs from January 2013.

Government lost 3,800 jobs from December to January and was down by 300 jobs in a year-over-year comparison.

In a month-to-month comparison, the only sector that added jobs was financial activities, which added 100 jobs in January and was up by 700 jobs over January 2013.

First Published March 18, 2014 10:47 AM

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