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MELLON BANK: PITTSBURGH COINCIDENT INDEX DIPS SLIGHTLY IN JULY

 PITTSBURGH, Oct. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Mellon Bank's coincident index of economic activity for the Pittsburgh region -- which gauges civilian employment, industrial power sales, wages and salaries, and retail sales -- fell 0.1 percent in July, after a revised gain of 0.3 percent in June, according to Richard Berner, senior vice president and chief economist, Mellon Bank.
 The July drop can be traced to sizable declines in both industrial power use and real retail sales. Power sales decreased 2.8 percent for the month. July retail sales, although still up nearly 7 percent year-over-year, fell 1.8 percent. Other components of the index were soft in July. Wages and salaries dipped 0.3 percent and civilian employment was flat.
 "The greatest concern for Pittsburgh's future is the recent slowdown in health care employment," Berner said. "With almost 12 percent of local employment in medical care services, Pittsburgh's dependence on the industry exceeds all other major U.S. cities. Consolidation following national reform efforts probably means fewer new jobs. Viewing this development, it is likely the metro area will experience slower overall growth during the years ahead."
 Mellon's index, which tracks current economic conditions in the Pittsburgh area, picked up sharply toward the end of l992. However, as the national recovery lost momentum during the last few months, local activity began to slip. The jobless rate jumped from 6.6 percent in April to 7.2 percent in July. Nonfarm employment slid to 958,700 this summer, lower than any quarter since l989.
 -0- 10/13/93
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: For technical information on the Mellon coincident index, contact Cheryl O'Brien, regional specialist, at 412-234-1529. Statistical information is available upon request./
 /CONTACT: Tilda Walsh of Mellon Bank, 412-234-5873/
 (MEL)


CO: Mellon Bank ST: Pennsylvania IN: FIN SU: ECO

CD -- PG007 -- 1604 10/13/93 11:06 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 13, 1993
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