The Pittsburgh metropolitan area is gaining jobs more quickly than it did last year, but job growth is still sluggish when compared to other regions of the country.
Pittsburgh started off the recovery in better shape than many other cities, since the seven-county region did not suffer as greatly in the recession.
Now, just as some of those areas once busted, they are booming again.
Figures released Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on unemployment and payrolls in May by metropolitan area show Pittsburgh's growth lagging behind similar cities. The number of jobs in the region has risen by 0.9 percent, a rate that is on par with Kansas City, Mo., and slightly better than St. Louis.
By comparison, Phoenix, which was hit hard during the Great Recession, now has lower unemployment and a higher rate of job growth than Pittsburgh. Phoenix's economy gained jobs at a rate of 2.7 percent over the last year while its unemployment rate -- which was not seasonally adjusted, so just a raw snapshot of unemployment -- stood at 6.2 percent.
Pittsburgh's unemployment rate without seasonal adjustment was 6.6 percent in May.
Denver, which has the same unemployment rate, grew more than twice as fast, adding 2.5 percent to the number of jobs it had from May 2012.
Mark Price, a labor economist with the Keystone Research Center in Harrisburg, said Phoenix and Denver have always had a tendency to grow more quickly than Pittsburgh, which has a more stable population.
Seattle, which had lower unemployment by more than a percentage point at 5.2 percent, more than doubled Pittsburgh's rate of job growth with a rate of 1.9 percent. Cleveland, which had 6.7 percent unemployment, in May lost jobs at a rate of one-half of 1 percent over the last year.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the Pittsburgh metropolitan area fell from 7.1 percent in April to 6.9 percent in May, well below the state's 7.5 percent rate and the nation's 7.6 percent rate in May.
The counties that make up the metropolitan area are Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland.
The Pittsburgh region has been gaining jobs more quickly over the last three months than it did over the last year, Mr. Price said.
The region had a net gain of 8,800 jobs from April to May and a net gain of 10,500 jobs from May 2012.
While colleges and universities cut 5,400 jobs during the month, the leisure and hospitality sector added 5,300. Construction, which also tends to add jobs in the spring, grew by 2,100 jobs. Manufacturers added 500 workers in May.
Professional and business services added 2,000 jobs.
Ann Belser: firstname.lastname@example.org First Published July 2, 2013 10:30 AM