Low or high?
But not to repeat my relative unemployment chart, which looks much the same, how about this. Another headline bullet point may be that the regional unemployment rate is now down to its lowest rate since October 2008, or over 5 and a half hears ago. Also FWIW.
But what is low? Economists have been debating how low unemployment rates can go and be sustained since forever without the greatest of conclusions. Much of that debate looks at sustainable national unemployment rates. Much less debate looks at how low regional rates in any one area can stay. Certainly through the 1990s, areas like Charlotte maintained sub 3% unemployment rates for extended periods. For the record, I believe the lowest unemployment rate ever recorded for the Pittsburgh metropolitan area as then defined was 2.3% in November 1966.
For Pittsburgh below is the distribution of monthly unemployment rates in Pittsburgh since 1970 highlighting the current data. For reference the median monthly unemployment rate over that time has been 6.2% and the average monthly unemployment rate (really pushed up by the long tail miasma of the 1980s) is over 6.6%. Note that at 5.5% we are at the bottom end of the range for the group highlighted.