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Job market still sluggish in Pittsburgh region, report shows

Jobs remain hard to find for out-of-work Pittsburghers
Jobs remain hard to find for out-of-work Pittsburghers
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Job seekers in the Pittsburgh area know all too well what the latest government employment data are reporting: Job growth in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area remains weak, and it continues to lag behind other regions of the country. As the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday, of the 15 Benchmark regions, as defined by Pittsburgh TODAY--a website examining regional economic, social and demographic indicators--Pittsburgh had the fourth-smallest job growth, with just a gain of 7,700 jobs in May 2014 compared to May 2013. This amounts to a meager .7 percent increase.

The highest percentage increases in job growth were seen in Denver (2.7 percent), Charlotte (2.4 percent), Indianapolis (2.1 percent), and Cincinnati (2.1 percent).

Job sectors experiencing the highest gains were leisure and hospitality, increasing 6.1 percent, and natural resources, mining and construction, increasing 4.9 percent. Manufacturing and government jobs took the greatest hit, losing 2.6 percent and 2 percent, respectively. The weak job growth in the Pittsburgh area continues to spell trouble for the unemployed and underemployed, including recent college graduates now entering the workforce.

Statewide, however, the picture appears to be improving. Pennsylvania registered the second-highest over-the-month increase in employment, with a gain of 24,700 jobs; Texas led the nation with a total increase of 56,400 new jobs. Pennsylvania's current unemployment rate is 5.6 percent, dropping 1.9 percent from a year ago, when unemployment in the state was 7.5 percent.

According to the June 2014 Employment Outlook report released by Simply Hired, job openings in the United States decreased 0.1 percent from April to May 2014; however, the number of openings was 22.6 percent higher compared to the same time last year.