Washington, Greene and Fayette counties did better on the employment front in July than the majority of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Jobless rates in Washington and Fayette County declined one-tenth of a percentage point from June, and Greene’s figure remained the same, according to seasonally adjusted statistics released Tuesday by the state Department of Labor & Industry.

Washington’s rate dropped to 6.3%, Fayette’s dipped to 8.3% and Greene’s remained at 6.9%.

Washington and Fayette were the only members of the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area to post lower rates in July. The other five counties experienced increases, the highest being Armstrong’s gain of seven-tenths to 7.7% and Butler’s 0.4 bump to 5.7%.

But for the second consecutive month, Butler and Fayette, respectively, had the MSA’s lowest and highest jobless figures. Ranking second to sixth were Allegheny (5.8%, a 0.1 increase); Westmoreland 6.1% (a 0.1 bump); Washington; Beaver 6.8% (up 0.1); and Armstrong.

These figures are in stark contrast with those from July 2020. District rates at that time included 13.3% in Washington; 14.4% in Greene; 16.2% in Fayette; 12.6% in Westmoreland; and 13.6% in Allegheny.

The July 2021 rate in the MSA was 6.2%, a 0.1 dip over the month. Pennsylvania’s figure was 6.6% (a 0.3 decrease) and the national number was 5.4% (down 0.5).

Washington’s July labor force, according to Labor & Industry, was 103,400, a decrease of 100 from the previous month. Employment (96,900) remained the same, while the number of county residents listed as unemployed (6.500) was down by 100.

Greene County’s labor force declined by 200 to 15,700; employment (14,600) fell by 200; and unemployment stayed at 1,100.

Fayette County’s labor force (55,300) dipped by 100, while employment (50,700) and unemployment (4,600) held steady.

The labor force in Westmoreland County (174,800) rose by 200, while employment (164,200) and unemployment (10,600) each increased by 100.

The Pittsburgh MSA experienced a seasonally adjusted gain in non-farm jobs in July. The 0.2% increase of 2,700 positions raised the total to 1,121,600. Year over year, MSA jobs were up 4.4% (47,000) and jobs statewide expanded by 4.0%.

Jobs in the MSA increased in five of 11 supersectors, the largest being 4,300 in leisure & hospitality. School-related summer breaks resulted in larger decreases in government (-4,600); education & health services (-1,800); and trade transportation and utilities (4,900).

Year over year, though, jobs climbed in nine supersectors. Leisure & hospitality (21,800) posted the largest jump.

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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