The US Department of Labor’s, Bureau of Labor Statistics, says the unemployment rate in the seven-county Pittsburgh region came in at 7.1% in December of 2010. That was lower than the national average of 9.1% and the state average of 8.1%. None of the numbers are seasonally adjusted. All of those numbers are lower than they were in December of 2010 when national unemployment stood at 9.7%, and unemployment in the Pittsburgh Region was at 7.8%.
Within the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area, the city of Pittsburgh notched a 7.5% unemployment rate in December 2010, while Allegheny and Butler counties lead the way at 7.1%. Fayette and Armstrong counties in the region were the only counties in the region with rates higher than the national average. They posted 10.2% and 9.5% respectively. Bureau of Labor Statistics Mid-Atlantic Spokesperson Shelia Watkins says it is not a surprise to see higher rates in the more rural counties. “Pretty typical is that in your more rural counties, there has been a reduction, a lot, in the Retail Services and Trades areas, so you will see a reduction in employment for those reasons.”
Westmoreland County posted 8.0% unemployment, Washington County saw 7.7% and Beaver posted a 7.4% rate. While all of the rates were better than they were a year ago, Watkins points out that they all lag the rates seen in December of 2008.
Watkins says among the sectors leading the region in job gains was Mining and Logging, Construction, Education and Health Services and Professional and Business services. Work in the Marcellus Shale formation has been linked to pushing rates in all of those categories other than Education and Health Services.
Watkins says like the nation as a whole, the recession in the Pittsburgh region began in December of 2007 and unemployment hit its trough in June of 2009.