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Pittsburgh Jobs Added Despite Rising Unemployment

Posted on July 24, 2008

Although Pittsburgh’s unemployment rate has increased slightly, there is still hope for those seeking Pittsburgh jobs.

In May 2008, according to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, Pittsburgh’s unemployment rate increased one-tenth of a percent to 5 percent. This still places Pittsburgh below Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate of 5.2 percent, and the national unemployment rate of 5.5 percent.

Although the city’s unemployment rate went up, so did its labor force. Pittsburgh added 7,000 jobs, bringing the overall labor force to 1,217,100, the highest since September 2002. The city’s employment rose by 5,700, the highest since March 2001. The Pittsburgh and Altoona metropolitan statistical areas tied for the sixth-lowest position in unemployment out of the state’s 14 metropolitan statistical areas.

Following in Pennsylvania’s footsteps of adding jobs, Pittsburgh added 9,400 total non-farm jobs in May, and both service providers and goods producers expanded their payrolls. Goods producing employment alone increased by 2,000 jobs to a total of 163,400 jobs.

“Seasonal construction gains accounted for almost all of the growth, but manufacturers inched up also,” the report states. “A strike at Latrobe Steel caused primary metal manufacturing and iron and steel mills to drop more than any May record.”

Service providers in Pittsburgh reached their highest level in May since December 2007, adding 7,400 jobs.

“Education and health services and government were the only supersectors to lose jobs in May, but the declines were typical, due to the end of the school year at many area colleges,” the report notes. “Professional & business services added 1,500 jobs to their payrolls, the largest May increase on record. This was due to above average growth in management of companies and enterprises and administrative and support services, which both reached record highs. The largest gain in May was a 6,400 increase in leisure and hospitality due to typical spring hiring and warm-weather businesses revving up for the season. Food services & drinking places reached a record high at 83,300.”

The Pittsburgh area added 3,200 jobs since May 2007. Goods producers reduced their payrolls by 1,600 throughout the year, with most of the decrease from manufacturers.

“This was the first over-the-year decline for goods producers since December 2005,” the report states. “Education & health services showed the most over the year growth of any supersector, while trade, transportation & utilities showed the largest drop due in large part to retail trade‚Äôs decline.”

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