The unemployment rate in Washington and Greene counties each bumped up one-tenth of a percentage point in December.

Washington County’s figure rose from 5.1% in November to 5.2%, and Greene’s from 6.0 to 6.1%, according to seasonally adjusted statistics released Tuesday by the state Department of Labor & Industry.

The jobless rate in both counties has increased in each of the past four months, and over the year, is up by at least one percentage point. Greene’s figure has increased 1.3% from 4.8% from December 2018, and Washington’s 1.0% – from 4.2%.

Both rates were higher than the December figures for Pennsylvania (4.5) and the nation (3.5). Washington County’s rate has not been below that of the state and/or nation since March, when the county was at 3.7%, Pennsylvania at 3.9% and the U.S. at 3.5%.

Washington is one of seven counties in the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area, where the rate rose two-tenths to 4.5%. Six counties posted increases from November; Allegheny remained at 4.5%.

Washington’s labor force, according to Labor & Industry, was 108,300, an increase of 500 from November. Employment also went up – by 400 – to 102,700. The number of residents listed as unemployed, however, increased by 100, to 5,600.

Greene’s labor force remained at 16,900. The number listed as employed (15,900) increased by 100 and the number of unemployed stayed at 1,000.

For the third consecutive month, Washington and Beaver (both 5.2%) tied for the fourth-lowest countywide rate in the MSA, which also includes Pittsburgh. Allegheny had the lowest figure, followed by Butler (4.6%) and Westmoreland (5.0). Armstrong (6.4) was sixth and Fayette (6.9) was seventh.

Centre (3.3%) had the lowest jobless figure among Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. Cameron (8.1%) had the highest.

The Pittsburgh MSA gained 2,800 seasonally adjusted non-farm jobs from November to December, lifting the total to 1,191,700. That total was unchanged from a year earlier, while statewide jobs rose 0.5% from December 2018.

Among supersectors in the MSA, trade, transportation & utilities posted the largest monthly jobs gain (2,300), because of holiday shopping and shipping. Education & health services lost 1,800 jobs over the month, largely because of winter break, and 1,600 construction jobs were lost.

Business Writer

Rick Shrum joined the Observer-Reporter as a reporter in 2012, after serving as a section editor, sports reporter and copy editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rick has won eight individual writing awards, including two Golden Quills.

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