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News Release Information

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Contacts Technical information: Media contact:

Unemployment in the Pittsburgh Area by County – September 2014

Unemployment Rates in All Area Counties Declined Over the Year

In September, Butler County had the lowest unemployment rate in the Pittsburgh, Pa. Metropolitan Statistical Area at 4.2 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that all seven counties that make up the metropolitan area posted unemployment rates lower than the U.S.’s 5.7-percent rate. Beaver County registered the highest unemployment rate at 5.3 percent. The next-highest unemployment rate was in Fayette County at 5.1 percent. (See chart 1 and chart 2. The Technical Note at the end of this release contains the metropolitan area definition. All data in this release are not seasonally adjusted; accordingly, over-the-year analysis is used throughout.)


In September 2014, unemployment rates in 6 of the 7 Pittsburgh-area counties posted larger over-the-year declines than the nation’s 1.3-percentage point decrease. (See table A.) The largest rate declines since September 2013 were in Fayette (-2.1 percentage points) and Westmoreland (-1.7 points). Butler County had the smallest unemployment rate decrease, down 1.1 percentage points from September 2013 to September 2014. The remaining four counties in the area each posted over-the-year rate declines of 1.5 percentage points.


Table A. Unemployment rates for the United States, the Pittsburgh, Pa., Metropolitan Statistical Area, and its components, not seasonally adjusted
AreaUnemployment rateChange from
Sep 2012Sep 2013Sep 2014(1)Sep 2012 to Sep 2014(1)Sep 2013 to Sep 2014(1)

United States

Pittsburgh, Pa. Metropolitan Statistical Area

Allegheny County, Pa.

Armstrong County, Pa.

Beaver County, Pa.

Butler County, Pa.

Fayette County, Pa.

Washington County, Pa.

Westmoreland County, Pa.

(1) Data for the Pittsburgh, Pa. Metropolitan Statistical Area and its components are preliminary for the most recent month.

All seven Pittsburgh-area counties had lower unemployment rates in September 2014 than in September 2012. Fayette County had the largest rate decrease of 3.3 percentage points, followed by Armstrong (-2.7 points) and Westmoreland (-2.3 points). Beaver and Butler Counties had the smallest unemployment rate decline from September 2012 to September 2014—each down 1.6 percentage points—and were the only counties in the area with a decline smaller than the nation’s 1.9-point decrease.


The Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment news release for October is scheduled to be released on Tuesday, December 9, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. (EDT).

Technical Note

This release presents unemployment rate data for states and counties from the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program, a federal-state cooperative endeavor. 

Definitions. The labor force and unemployment data are based on the same concepts and definitions as those used for the official national estimates obtained from the Current Population Survey (CPS), a sample survey of households that is conducted for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) by the U.S. Census Bureau. The LAUS program measures employment and unemployment on a place-of-residence basis. The universe for each is the civilian noninstitutional population 16 years of age and over.  Employed persons are those who did any work at all for pay or profit in the reference week (the week including the 12th of the month) or worked 15 hours or more without pay in a family business or farm, plus those not working who had a job from which they were temporarily absent, whether or not paid, for such reasons as labor-management dispute, illness, or vacation. Unemployed persons are those who were not employed during the reference week (based on the definition above), had actively looked for a job sometime in the 4-week period ending with the reference week, and were currently available for work; persons on layoff expecting recall need not be looking for work to be counted as unemployed.  The labor force is the sum of employed and unemployed persons. The unemployment rate is the number of unemployed as a percent of the labor force.

Methods of Estimation. The LAUS program is a hierarchy of non-survey methodologies for indirectly estimating employment and unemployment in states and local areas. Statewide data are produced through a modeling technique that uses estimates of payroll jobs from the Current Employment Statistics survey and unemployment insurance claims counts from the state workforce agencies to mitigate volatility in the direct CPS tabulations of employment and unemployment, respectively. Data for labor market areas, such as metropolitan areas and metropolitan divisions, are produced through a building block approach and adjusted proportionally to state model-based totals. Data for counties within labor market areas are produced through a disaggregation technique. A detailed description of the LAUS estimation procedures is available in chapter 4 of the BLS Handbook of Methods at

Annual revisions. Labor force and unemployment data for prior years reflect adjustments made at the end of each year. The adjusted estimates reflect updated population data from the U.S. Census Bureau, any revisions in the other data sources, and model reestimation.  All substate estimates are reestimated and adjusted to add to the revised model-based estimates for states.

Area definitions. The substate area data published in this release reflect the standards and definitions established by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, dated December 1, 2009. A detailed list of the geographic definitions is available at

The Pittsburgh, Pa. Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington, and Westmoreland counties in Pennsylvania.

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone:  (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service:  (800) 877-8339.



Last Modified Date: Tuesday, November 18, 2014