As more seek work, Pittsburgh area jobless rate up

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The unemployment rate in the seven-county Pittsburgh area jumped three-tenths of a percentage point in July, from 7.1 percent to 7.4 percent, as more people came off the sidelines to look for work, the state's Department of Labor and Industry reported today.

It was the second month in a row that the local jobless rate rose by three-tenths of a point, pushing the rate up from 6.8 percent in May. In July 2011, the rate also stood at 7.4 percent.

The labor picture locally continued to outperform Pennsylvania as a whole, where the jobless rate stood at 7.9 percent in July, and the nation, where unemployment was 8.3 percent.

PG graphic: Regional jobless rate at 7.4%
(Click image for larger version)

Unemployment rose in the Pittsburgh area last month even though the region gained a seasonally adjusted 6,000 jobs. In part, that's because the labor force grew, said labor department analyst Ismael Fertenbaugh.

People sometimes return to the labor force and start looking for work when the labor climate brightens and they see other people getting jobs, he said.

The Pittsburgh area has added jobs in nine of the past 12 months.

At the end of July, the seven-county Pittsburgh region had regained all of the jobs lost during the Great Recession, plus added 18,200 more, Mr. Fertenbaugh said.

Since the official end of the recession in June 2009, the region has added 48,400 jobs.

Of the 67 counties in Pennsylvania, 54 saw the jobless rate rise in July, eight posted a decrease and five were flat.

Allegheny County had the 13th-lowest unemployment rate statewide in July at 7 percent, up from 6.9 percent in June.

Across Pennsylvania, unemployment rates ranged from a low of 6.2 percent in Centre County to a high of 11.2 percent in Philadelphia County.


Patricia Sabatini: or 412-263-3066.


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