Job growth pushes October unemployment rate down to 7.3%
The unemployment rate in the seven-county Pittsburgh region fell one-tenth of a percentage point to 7.3 percent in October from the month before, according to a report released on Wednesday.
The main reason was the region generated 9,300 jobs in October, compared with 6,700 in September, according to the state Department of Labor and Industry, based on a survey of employers. Those numbers are not adjusted for seasonal factors.
“That's always the best way to improve the unemployment rate,” said Kurt Rankin, an economist with PNC Financial Services Group.
Rankin noted that the jobless rate fell even as the size of the labor force — those working or actively seeking work — grew. Many times, the jobless rate goes up because it's measured against a smaller labor force.
The region's labor force expanded by 5,500 last month to about 1.17 million people.
“The labor force seems to be growing at a much stabler and rapid rate than it has in the past,” said Norman Robertson, economic adviser to Smithfield Trust Co., Downtown. “It's up by 26,000 over the past year, and that is a positive sign.”
The jobless rate declined for the first time since March but was left little changed from the 7.2 percent rate posted in October 2011.
In addition, the number of unemployed people in the Pittsburgh area declined to 92,600 in October, from 93,400 in September, according to seasonally adjusted figures from a survey of area residents. The Pittsburgh region includes Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Washington and Westmoreland counties.
“A lot of that had to do with the shopping season, which seems like it's getting started earlier and earlier,” said Rankin.
The employment gains largely came from the addition of a larger-than-expected 2,200 retail workers, as store owners geared up for holiday shopping. In addition, schools and universities added 3,200 jobs in October, as the school year got under way. Local government added 3,700 jobs last month.
The region's manufacturing sector added 400 jobs last month, and construction gained 300 jobs.
Pennsylvania's jobless rate was 8.1 percent last month versus 8.2 percent in September. The nation's unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent.
The economists said the Pittsburgh area weathered the recession better than most markets. To continue growing, the labor market here needs to have the economy grow by at least the 2.2 percent annualized rate posted in the third quarter, said Rankin.
“But I'm hopeful that if fiscal cliff issues are resolved in any way by the end of the year that the pace of growth in the U.S. economy will hold up, as opposed to again slowing and sapping growth from the local market,” he said
Thomas Olson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached 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.
- Man found dead in Lower Burrell
- Plum students protest orders to keep mum about sex cases
- Injured Penguins optimistic about returning next season
- Crosby, Malkin want to remain in Pittsburgh
- Pirates notebook: Wainwright injury doesn’t sway Hurdle on DH
- Lawyers present procedural arguments for AG Kane’s contempt hearing
- Coach Johnston trying to figure out why Penguins ‘fell off a cliff’
- Washington’s Shelton grows into big role, looks forward to draft
- Mylan rejects Teva’s $40 billion takeover bid
- Behind starter Liriano, Pirates complete sweep of Diamondbacks
- Counselors available at Hempfield after crash kills student