One month after unemployment rates declined in four local counties, they rose by more than a percentage point in each.
Greene County’s rate jumped to 14.5% from 13.1% in June, while Washington County’s July rate was 14.3%, a bump from 12.9%, according to seasonally adjusted statistics released recently by the state Department of Labor & Industry.
Fayette County’s July rate was 17.0%, up from 15.5% a month earlier. Westmoreland’s figure was 13.5%, an increase from 12.2%.
The higher rates are partly reflective of capacity limitations Gov. Tom Wolf reinstated on the hospitality industry in mid-July, specifically on restaurants and bars, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
June jobless figures were down from May, as a number of Pennsylvanians returned to the workforce.
All four of the area counties had much lower unemployment rates in July 2019, eight months before the pandemic arrived here. Greene’s was 5.1%; Washington’s, 4.6%; Fayette’s, 6.0%; and Westmoreland’s, 4.5%.
Unemployment statewide was 13.7%, up 0.5 of a percentage point from June. The national figure fell 0.9 of a point to 10.2%.
Washington is one of seven counties in the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area, where the July rate was 14.3%, an increase of 1.5 points from the previous month. The MSA rate in July 2019 was 4.6%.
Greene County is not in the MSA.
Washington’s labor force, according to Labor & Industry, was 106,400 in July, up from 104,100 in June. Employment was 91,200, an increase of 500, while the number of county residents listed as unemployed rose by 1,800 – to 15,200 from 13,400.
Greene’s labor force (16,700) increased by 300 in July. Its number listed as employed bumped up by 100 to 14,300, but the number of unemployed rose by 200 to 2,400.
Butler County had the lowest jobless figure (11.7%) in the MSA, which also includes Pittsburgh. Westmoreland (13.5) was second, followed by Washington and Allegheny (tied for third at 14.3%); Armstrong (14.4%); Beaver (15.8%); and Fayette (17.0%).
Each county in the MSA posted an increase, ranging from 1.0% (Butler) to 1.9% (Armstrong).
Non-farm jobs in the Pittsburgh MSA rose 1.5% over the month, an increase of 15,600 to 1,087,000. Year over year, however, jobs in the MSA were down 9.0% (107,300). Statewide jobs declined 8.9%.
Among 11 supersectors in the MSA, education and health services posted the largest jobs increase in July – 5,400. L&I attributed that to an increase in health care and social assistance. Government experienced the biggest dropoff – 2,900 – due to local public schools continuing to release staff for summer break.