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Seasonal Hiring Helps Unemployment Rate

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(Credit: KDKA)

(Credit: KDKA)

Mary Robb Jackson Mary Robb Jackson
Mary Robb Jackson joined KDKA-TV as a general assignment reporter in...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — For the first time in two-and-a-half-years the unemployment rate fell to 8.6 percent in November.

It’s the lowest since the darkest days of the recession.

But what might it mean for the more than 13 million men and women still looking for work?

The dip in the unemployment rate is a promising glimpse of a silver lining since the credit turmoil knocked the economy off its pins.

“We’re on course for steady growth in the United States absent a crisis in Europe,” Dr. Marvin Goodfriend said.

He is a nationally-recognized economist and professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business.

“It’s more evidence that I don’t think we’re going to have a double dip,” he said.

“It does give me hope,” Brian Locke said.

The 45-year-old Edgewood man has been looking for work for three months.

“My specialty is transportation and that’s the area I’m trying to get into,” he said.

Other job seekers like 60-year-old Gary Zuger don’t pay a lot of attention to the unemployment rate.

“It doesn’t affect me one way or the other because I continue to look for employment,” he said.

One reason for the drop in unemployment is that more than 315,000 people gave up looking and fell off the radar.

Most of the new jobs are in retail, bars and restaurants – an indication of seasonal hiring.

There were 50,000 new hires in retail and 33,000 in restaurants and bars.

Also, 17,000 new jobs were added in health-related fields. The most recent local unemployment statistics are not yet available.

Dr. Goodfriend says repairing the job market will be a relatively slow process.

“I like to describe this as a propeller plane rather that a jet plane taking off,” he said. “I don’t know how many people remember propeller planes, but they do take off very slowly.”

But it does take off. 

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