Butler County employment improves a bit

January 9, 2019 Cranberry Local News

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Butler County’s unemployment rate was again lower than surrounding counties in November, according to newly released data.

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry’s Center for Workforce Information and Analysis on Thursday released its seasonally updated unemployment numbers for November.

Butler County’s rate, according to the monthly estimations, dropped to 3.8 percent from 3.9 percent.

That rate maintains the county’s position as having the lowest unemployment rate of all the counties considered members of the Pittsburgh metropolitan statistical area. Butler County’s rate is also lower than rates in bordering Venango, Lawrence, Clarion and Mercer counties, which are not in the Pittsburgh statistical area.

Every county that borders Butler County decreased its unemployment rate in November, except for Westmoreland County, which maintained its 4.4 percent rate.

The state of Pennsylvania, overall, did not reflect this decrease. It posted an increase of 0.1 percent to 4.2 percent unemployment.

New job figures show 3,700 unemployed people in Butler County in November, down from an estimated 3,900 in October. The county’s estimated labor force was about 99,000 people.

Allegheny County’s labor force was about 650,000 people in November, according to the report.

The center’s analysts offered a few insights into job fluctuations within the Pittsburgh statistical area. The group of industries labeled “trade, transportation and utilities” grew the most in November, analysts note, “due to local businesses hiring for the holiday shopping and shipping season.”

Sandy Hoffman, the analyst who prepared the report for the Pittsburgh statistical area, confirmed that retail trade added the most jobs of any subsector within the trade, transportation and utilities group of industries.

However, she said, retail trade added fewer jobs in the Pittsburgh statistical area this year than trends suggest.

“It’s a little lower than the five-year average, which is around three or four thousand,” Hoffman said. “So, it’s a little lower than normal.”

Leisure and hospitality had the largest decrease in jobs of any industry grouping.

Education and health services industries added 100 jobs in the statistical area, bringing the total to a record-setting 258,700.

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