Unemployment rose to 7.4 percent in the seven-county Pittsburgh metropolitan statistical area in September, marking a fourth straight month of increases.
The state Department of Labor and Industry released the figures Wednesday after a two-day delay due to shutdowns related to Hurricane Sandy. The rate is up two tenths of a percentage point from the same period last year and is in line with increases in the state unemployment rate, which also went up one tenth of percentage point in September and up two tenths over the year.
Pennsylvania's unemployment rate now stands at 8.2 percent, while the national unemployment rate fell three tenths of a percentage point to 7.8 percent in September.
The Pittsburgh MSA tied with the Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA for the fourth lowest rate in the state. The Scranton-Wilkes Barre area reported the state's highest unemployment rate at 9.6 percent and the State College area posted the lowest at 6 percent.
The Pittsburgh metropolitan statistical area includes Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland counties.
Mark Price, a labor economist for Harrisburg-based Keystone Research Center, said in an email that Pittsburgh's "relatively stronger" economy could have drawn more workers to its labor force than the state at large. He said this would partially explain why unemployment in the region has increased as much as the state's overall unemployment rate since May.
The number of seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs in the region declined by 3,100 to 1.16 million in September, with many of the losses coming from fewer leisure and hospitality positions.
From September 2011 through August, the Pittsburgh area saw net losses of 2,500 in the goods-producing sector and 2,100 in education and health services sectors. Government jobs were reduced by 1,500 during the same period.
This September, the Pittsburgh area added 8,100 education and health services positions, with 6,900 new positions coming from colleges and universities. Government jobs also spiked over the month thanks to the new school year, with 7,500 of 8,500 new jobs in the sector coming from local government educational services.
Deborah M. Todd: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1652.