Jobless rate up in Washington, stays same in Greene

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The unemployment rate for May rose in Washington County and stayed the same in Greene County.


Seasonally adjusted numbers released by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry Tuesday list Washington County joblessness at 5.6 percent, up three-tenths of a point from April, but down significantly from 7.0 percent in May 2013.


Greene’s May rate was 4.8 percent, the same as April and well below 6.5 percent the previous May.


Both counties’ numbers are below the U.S. rate for May (6.3 percent) and Greene’s figure is below that of Pennsylvania (5.6 percent). Washington’s rate is the same as the state.


Washington County has been under the national figure 15 of the past 16 months and at or below the Pennsylvania rate for at least the past 20 months.


Greene’s jobless figure was beneath both sets of numbers for at least the past 20 months.


Washington is one of seven counties in the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area, which had 5.5 percent unemployment in May, down 0.1 percent from April and well below 6.9 percent from a year earlier. That was the 12th consecutive monthly decline of at least 0.1 percent in the MSA, which also includes Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette and Westmoreland.


Each of those counties, however, experienced an increase in unemployment from the previous month.


Allegheny and Butler tied for the lowest jobless rate in the MSA (5.2 percent) during May, and Fayette (7.4) had the highest. Washington and Westmoreland (5.6) tied for the third lowest, followed by Beaver (6.5) and Armstrong (6.7).


Of the 14 MSAs, State College had the lowest unemployment (4.1 percent) and Scranton-Wilkes-Barre the highest (7.2).


Nonfarm jobs in the Pittsburgh MSA increased by 4,300 in May to 1.168 million. Jobs there increased by 11,500 (1.0 percent) and statewide by 1.1 percent.


The MSA realized increases in two jobs categories in May, both summer season-related. Retailers hired 2,000 workers, and outdoor recreational businesses and dining spots added 8,000.


About 2,600 jobs were lost during the month in education and health services, and about 700 in state government.


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