Region's unemployment rate rose in December

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While the raw news may not be good -- the unemployment rate in the seven-county Pittsburgh region rose to 7.3 percent in December -- the region hit a positive benchmark of sorts last month:

Five years and counting with an unemployment rate lower than both the state and the national jobless number.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, issued Monday by the state Department of Labor and Industry, increased for the first time since September.

In October and November, the regional rate dropped from 7.4 percent to 7.2 percent. For the year, January through December, the region's unemployment rate crept from 7.0 to 7.3 percent.

PG graphic: Regional jobless rate 7.3%
(Click image for larger version)

Pennsylvania's seasonally adjusted rate in December 2012 rose one-tenth of one percentage point to 7.9 percent, and the national rate was unchanged at 7.8 percent.

In the region, Butler County remains the county with the lowest rate, at 6.8 percent, while Fayette County remains the highest, at 9.7. The city's rate -- which is not seasonally adjusted -- was estimated at 7.1 percent.

Even as the region's rate inched up, the Pittsburgh metropolitan statistical area added an estimated 800 jobs, to a record of nearly 1.17 million. Year-over-year, according to the Department of Labor and Industry, the non-farm total grew by 7,200 jobs.

That means that the region's increasing unemployment rate is not the result of fewer jobs, but a larger labor force.

According to the report, the region added 400 education and health services jobs in December.

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Bill Toland: or 412-263-2625.


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