Unemployment rates held steady in Washington and Greene counties in August, one month after they shot upward.

Washington’s jobless figure remained at 4.3% and Greene’s at 4.7%, according to seasonally adjusted statistics released Tuesday by the state Department of Labor & Industry.

Those counties experienced bumps of three-tenths and five-tenths of a percentage point, respectively, in July. Washington’s August rate was up one-tenth of a point from a year earlier, and Greene’s was the same as in August 2018.

The Pennsylvania and national rates remained 3.9% and 3.7%.

Washington is one of seven counties in the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area, where the rate increased one-tenth of a point in August to 3.9%.

Washington’s labor force, according to Labor & Industry, was 106,800 in August, up 400 from July. Employment also rose over the month, to 102,300, an increase of 500, while the number of residents listed as unemployed fell by 100 to 4,500.

Greene’s labor force (16,700) increased by 100 over the month, as did the number employed (15,900). The number of residents listed as unemployed stayed at 800.

At 4.3%, Washington and Beaver tied for the fourth-lowest countywide rate in the MSA (which also includes Pittsburgh). Butler County again had the lowest figure, 3.6%, followed by Allegheny (3.9) and Westmoreland (4.1). Armstrong (4.8) was sixth and Fayette (5.7) seventh. Fayette County’s jobless rate was up five-tenths from June and one-tenth from August 2018.

Unemployment in August was lower than it was a year earlier in five counties – all except Washington and Armstrong.

Adams, Centre and Chester (2.9%) shared the lowest jobless rate among the state’s 67 counties. Forest and Snyder (6.2) tied for the highest.

The MSA gained 6,400 seasonally adjusted non-farm jobs in August, raising the total to 1,194,100. That figure was up 9,600 over the year. Statewide, jobs rose 0.6% from the previous August.

In the Pittsburgh MSA, the education & health services supersector and the trade, transportation & utilities supersector posted the largest gains over the month. Leisure & hospitality endured the biggest decline in jobs (1,500), but that supersector was 1,600 above its level a year earlier.

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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