Pittsburgh region unemployment rate the lowest in 40 years
Unemployment in the Pittsburgh region is at its lowest rate in more than four decades, according to the Pennsylvania Bureau of Labor and Industry.
“The best we can say is, it’s the lowest on our records, which start in 1976,” said Lauren Riegel, an industry and business analyst for the state.
The seven-county region’s 3.8 percent January unemployment rate ranks tied for 10th with the Philadelphia region, according to Riegel, who added “that says a lot.”
The Pittsburgh area includes Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland counties. The lowest rate was the 3.4 percent posted by Butler County and the highest was Fayette County’s 5 percent.
The lowest rate across the state for January was 2.8 percent in the Gettysburg area. The highest was 4.8 percent in East Stroudsburg area. The highest county unemployment rate was 5.6 percent in Forest County.
“Pretty much across the state (numbers) are definitely improving,” Riegel said.
“Right now, construction is strong in Pittsburgh,” she said, citing projects like the cracker plant being built by Shell Chemicals in Beaver County, along with several pipeline projects that traverse the region, she said.
There also is increased employment in health care, transportation and utilities, she said.
The Pittsburgh region has diversified since the decline of its manufacturing base in the 1980s and, now, there’s growth in a wide range of sectors, Riegel said.
“Pittsburgh is one of those areas that did have to transition away from the manufacturing sector,” Riegel said.
Since it did so, there’s been “widespread growth.”
The numbers indicate an improving economy throughout the state. Nevertheless, the statewide unemployment rate was 4.1 percent, which still was higher than the national rate for January of 4 percent, according to the Department of Labor and Industry.
Tom Davidson is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tom at 724-226-4715, [email protected] or via Twitter .