Region's unemployment rate ticks up for December

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Unemployment in the seven-county Pittsburgh region rose to 7.3 percent in December, up one tick from November 2012, but still below the statewide rate and the national rate for 60 straight months.

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 (the September reading) to 7.3 in October and to 7.2 percent in November.

For the year, January through December, the region's unemployment rate crept from 7 percent to 7.3 percent.

Pennsylvania's seasonally adjusted rate in December 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 percent.

Even as the region's rate inched up, the Pittsburgh metropolitan statistical area added an estimated 800 jobs in December, to a record of nearly 1.17 million. For the entire 12 months, 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.

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Bill Toland: btoland@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2625.


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