After six months of declining unemployment in the Pittsburgh region, the jobless rate for the seven-county metropolitan area rose from 6.7 percent in July to 6.8 percent in August.
While the rest of the country experienced a slight decline in the unemployment rate in August, dropping from 7.4 percent in July to 7.3 percent, Pennsylvania as a whole saw its rate rise from 7.5 percent to 7.7 percent during the month.
In the seven counties that make up the Pittsburgh metropolitan statistical area -- Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland -- the most recent spike in unemployment had come in January when the rate hit 7.6 percent.
Sometimes, economists note, a surge in the unemployment rate can be traced to more people are coming off the sidelines to look for work. That wasn't the case in August.
Seasonally adjusted numbers meant to account for the regular dips and spikes driven by seasonal shifts show that the number of people in the Pittsburgh region who are working or looking for work, the group known as the labor force, has fallen.
Although there were 3,800 fewer people working in August compared to the previous month, there were just 800 more counted as unemployed. That indicates workers were leaving the labor force rather than looking for work.
The seven counties also suffered a net loss of 4,700 jobs during the month, with 3,700 cut in private industry and a net of 1,000 government jobs lost that were evenly split between municipal job cuts and positions eliminated in public schools.
In the area of goods-producing industries, construction had a net gain of 900 jobs in August, while mining and logging -- which includes the gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale range -- added 100 jobs. Manufacturing cut 100 jobs.
Professional and business services saw a net decrease of 1,300 jobs, including a gain of 400 jobs in professional and technical services, such as engineering and architectural jobs, that was offset by a loss of 1,500 jobs in administrative and waste services.
The health and education sector experienced a net decrease of 1,400 jobs in August.
Ann Belser: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1699.