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Pittsburgh Area Jobless Rate Rises

Unemployment in the seven county Pittsburgh labor market rose two tenths of a percentage point in August.  The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) reports the seasonally-adjusted jobless rate for the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) increased to 7.3% in August from July's 7.1%.

In the region, Butler County had the lowest jobless rate at 6.7%, unchanged from the previous month; Fayette County had the highest at 9.4%, up one tenth of a percentage point. Allegheny County's unemployment rate held steady in August at 7.1%.

The Pittsburgh area lost 6,100 nonfarm or industry jobs in August including seasonal employment.  "Education and Health Services fell 2,000; it's a seasonal area that typically declines in August," said DLI spokesman Ismael Fertenbaugh. 1,300 of those 2,000 lost jobs were at colleges and universities.

However, the goods producing sector had a net gain of 300 including manufacturing which added 1,000 jobs but construction was down by 800.

Fertenbaugh noted that the number of unemployed in the Pittsburgh MSA was up by 2,500 due in part to an increase in the labor force.  "A re-entrance to the workforce, people returning from time away from work," said Fertenbaugh, "new entrants, people going into the labor force that never had a job before, or people who had stopped looking for work [but have started again]."

While the Pittsburgh area jobless rate moved up in August, it matches the figure from August 2011.  The region's jobless rate still remains well below the state and national rates of 8.1%.