TribLIVE

| Business

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Rise in Western Pa. jobless rate signals slowdown in economy

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

On the Grid

From the shale fields to the cooling towers, Trib Total Media covers the energy industry in Western Pennsylvania and beyond. For the latest news and views on gas, coal, electricity and more, check out On the Grid today.

Related .pdfs
Can't view the attachment? Then download the latest version of the free, Adobe Acrobat reader here:

Get Adobe Reader

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Thomas Olson
Monday, Jan. 28, 2013, 10:54 a.m.
 

Unemployment in the Pittsburgh region edged higher in December to 7.3 percent as area employers chopped 3,500 jobs during the month, a state report issued on Monday said.

Jobs at employers in the seven-county area slid to 1,176,500 last month from 1,180,000 in November, according to the state Department of Labor and Industry.

Economists said the drop-off of 3,500 jobs mostly related to seasonal factors, such as a decrease in construction employment in colder weather and temporary layoffs at colleges for the holiday break. The figures come from a survey of employers.

“This report rounds out 2012 concisely: Growth slowed and even declined over the course of the year,” said Kurt Rankin, an economist at PNC Financial Services Group.

Rankin described the region's economy as currently “moving sideways.”

December's jobless rate rose by one-tenth of percentage point from 7.2 percent in November. The region's unemployment rate, which reflects seasonal adjustments, stood at 7.0 percent in December 2011.

“The unemployment rate is flat, just moving a tenth here and there,” the economist said. “Pittsburgh is not going anywhere. Its economy has stalled.”

Rankin projects the region's unemployment rate is unlikely to decline much until about mid-year.

In addition, the number of unemployed people rose by 900 to 92,000 last month from 91,000 in November on a seasonally adjusted basis. That data comes from a separate survey of residents.

Jake Haulk, economist and president of the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy, Castle Shannon, said year-over-year job growth totals fell with each new quarter last year on an unadjusted basis. The average number of jobs in first-quarter 2012 was 22,000 higher than a year before. But by the fourth quarter, year-over-year growth dwindled to 9,500.

“We've had a dramatic slowing in the growth rate,” Haulk said.

The economist noted college and university jobs fell by 1,600 in December from year-ago levels, and social assistance jobs were down by 900. Those job drops were offset by a 4,300-job pickup in professional and technical employment, which Haulk said was “sustaining at a pretty strong pace.”

The seven-county region covers Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland counties.

Thomas Olson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7854 or tolson@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Business Headlines

  1. Post-Gazette offers voluntary buyouts in bid to avoid layoffs
  2. Range Resources cuts workforce 11%
  3. Travelers find direct Web route to Priory’s spirited past in North Side
  4. Muni bond funds stressed
  5. United Airlines hack coincided with incursion into government employee data
  6. China rebound, Fed statement fuel rally on Wall Street
  7. Fed holds steady on rates
  8. Voice-assisted technology raises privacy concerns
  9. EPA ordered to ease limits on cross-border air pollution that involves Pennsylvania
  10. Plastics propel Bayer’s 2Q earnings
  11. Gold continues to fall further out of favor with investors