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PITTSBURGH INDEX DROPS IN DECEMBER

 PITTSBURGH INDEX DROPS IN DECEMBER
 PITTSBURGH, Feb. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- The Mellon Index of Economic


Performance for the Pittsburgh region, which gauges the overall economic health of the area, dropped 0.4 percent in December, it was announced today.
 The December decline was led by a continued slide in contract awards for commercial building and further weakness in new car sales. In addition, service-producing employment stumbled as a result of below normal seasonal hiring by retailers and a slight reduction in government payrolls.
 At the same time, an increase in permits for apartment construction lifted housing permits to their strongest monthly reading in several years. Goods-producing jobs rose during the month and the manufacturing workweek held steady. These encouraging notes notwithstanding, the poor retail environment and the decline in commercial building have restrained the area's overall economic performance.
 Compared with 12 months ago, the Mellon Index is down 4.3 percent, reflecting in large part the weak car market and the loss of goods-producing employment. Looking ahead, the region's interest rate-sensitive sectors, especially housing, should help bring about a return to positive economic growth during the next few months, including an increase in jobs, stronger discretionary retail sales and a declining unemployment rate.
 In December, the Mellon Index of Economic Performance for the Pittsburgh region stood at 103.3, down from 103.7 in November.
 MELLON PERFORMANCE INDEX FOR PITTSBURGH
 (1980 equals 100)
 (December)
 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991
 89.2 85.7 90.5 101.9 101.4 107.9 103.3
 -0- 2/12/92
 /CONTACT: Debra DeCourcy of Mellon Bank, 412-234-5873/ CO: Mellon Bank ST: Pennsylvania IN: FIN SU:


CD -- PG007 -- 9412 02/12/92 16:38 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 12, 1992
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