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Pittsburgh area jobless rate remains at 4.2 percent

Joe Napsha
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Jeff Himler | Tribune-Review
Construction workers last year in the corridor of a classroom wing of the new Latrobe Elementary School.

The Pittsburgh region’s unemployment rate remained at 4.2 percent in December, a drop of .7 percent from a year ago as the region added 9,600 nonfarm jobs compared to December 2017.

Among the seven counties in the Pittsburgh region, Allegheny County’s jobless rate held steady at 4.2 percent, while Westmoreland County’s unemployment rate rose to 4.5 percent, a .1 percentage point increase from November, but a .5 percentage point increase from December 2017, according to data released Tuesday by the state Department of Labor and Industry. Fayette County had the highest jobless rate in December at 5.9 percent, but that was a .7 percentage point decrease from the December 2017 rate of 6.6 percent.

The Pittsburgh region had 1.2 million nonfarm jobs in December, 9,600 more than December 2017 count of 1.193 million jobs. The number of nonfarm jobs, however, was a decrease in December of 5,100 from November.

The Pittsburgh area jobs count, based on seasonal factors, rose to a record high of 1,195,600, up 8,200 from December 2017.

Although the .7 percent increase in jobs year over year is small, “at least it’s pointing in the right direction,” said Frank Gamrat, executive director of the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy in Castle Shannon.

About 1,200 more workers entered the civilian labor force — those working or looking for work — in December than in November, boosting the total to 1,215,500. There were 6,500 more workers in the civilian labor force in December than a year ago, indicating that people were more confident of gaining employment, Gamrat said.

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