Pittsburgh-area unemployment rate drops to 7.3 percent in March
By Thomas Olson
Published: Tuesday, April 30, 2013, 1:36 p.m.
The Pittsburgh region's post-recession recovery continued to lose steam in March, as fewer residents were confident enough in the economy to search for work, a report Tuesday showed.
About 5,400 people in the seven-county area dropped out of the labor force, said the state Department of Labor & Industry. It said the region added a modest 1,400 jobs, in part because of gains in sectors such as construction and business and professional services.
“We're still creating jobs, but only slowly,” said Kurt Rankin, an economist at PNC Financial Services Group. “And that's being overshadowed by those falling out of the labor force.”
Rankin said the disappointing labor force numbers dampened news of an improvement in the unemployment rate, which fell to 7.3 percent in March from 7.5 percent in February.
The unemployment rate decreased partly because many people stopped looking for work, Rankin said. When people stop looking for a job, they no longer are counted as part of the labor force, which artificially lowers the rate.
Rankin said job growth “decelerated” in the past three years after the recession officially ended in 2009. The size of the labor force and the number of new jobs grew in 2010 and 2011, he said. The labor force kept growing last year, but job growth began to slacken.
“In 2013, we see that people are no longer as optimistic,” Rankin said. “Job growth is not providing people with enough confidence they can go out and find a job.”
The state agency adjusted the February rate to 7.5 percent from the 7.4 percent it initially estimated, based on a survey of residents and adjusted for seasonal fluctuations. The rate was 7.0 percent in March 2012.
Pennsylvania's unemployment rate dropped to 7.9 percent from 8.1 percent in February, but was still worse than the nation's 7.6 percent rate, which was down from 7.7 percent in February.
The Pittsburgh region's labor market “is not a rosy one,” said Jake Haulk, president of the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy in Castle Shannon.
But it is “encouraging,” Haulk said, that professional and business services added 2,700 jobs in March over February, based on a survey of employers and not adjusted for seasonal fluctuations. Construction added 2,600 jobs in March.
Thomas Olson is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7854 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- PNC’s CEO elected board chairman
- Corbett: Coal is working
- ‘Old GM’ defense expected in court fight over faulty ignition switch
- ATI takes 1st-quarter loss, but says outlook is good
- Winning streak for stocks continues
- Drugmakers ready to carve out deals any way they can
- Young visionaries at PieceMaker Technologies Inc. see future in 3-D
- Tesla delivers 1st cars in China
- BNY Mellon notches $661M profit in 1st quarter
- Google challenges nonprofits on ideas to use Glass
- McDonald’s profit slips amid weak sales