Pittsburgh region jobs drop, jobless rate rises slightly | TribLIVE.com

Pittsburgh region jobs drop, jobless rate rises slightly

Joe Napsha
Construction crews and surveyors work on the Tenaska Westmoreland Generating Station in South Huntingdon.

The Pittsburgh area continued to lose jobs in August, the fourth consecutive month in which the seven-county region lost nonfarm jobs, the state said Tuesday.

“This is not a good sign. We’re hitting a trend of not growing jobs like we once did. There is a lot of worry in this particular (jobs) report,” said Frank Gamrat, an economist and executive director of the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy, Castle Shannon-based think tank.

The Pittsburgh region of Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland counties lost 2,300 jobs in August to drop to 1.187 million nonfarm jobs, down from a high of 1.2 million jobs in May, the state Center for Workforce Information and Analysis said. Despite the downward trend, the region still had 6,400 more jobs in August than a year ago.

The manufacturing sector employment fell to 84,600, down 3,000 from August 2018. Education and health services lost 1,300 jobs since August 2018, falling to 248,600 jobs. For many years, education and health services — “meds and eds“ — helped to boost the economy, Gamrat noted.

The jobless rate for the Pittsburgh region rose 0.1 of a percentage point to 3.9 percent in August from July, the first time since April that the unemployment rate has risen, the workforce information center said. The unemployment rate, as adjusted for seasonal hiring factors, still was 0.3 of a percentage point better than the 4.2% rate of August 2018.

There were 46,800 workers in August, which was 3,200 fewer unemployed than a year ago, according to figures adjusted for seasonal hiring factors. The civilian labor force increased by 6,800 to 1.2 million in August compared to a year ago. There were 10,000 more residents working in August — 1.159 million — compared to a year ago.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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