Pittsburgh—Elusive Employment Gains
April 2017 | PDF
Employment in the Pittsburgh metro area has remained relatively flat since 2012. In 2016, employment declined slightly during the year through September, with losses concentrated in goods-producing sectors such as mining, manufacturing, and construction. These losses largely offset employment gains among some service-sector industries. The area’s unemployment rate rose over the course of 2016, ending the year a percentage point above the national average, though it improved in January, falling to 5.3 percent. While the number of residential building permits issued in the area remains relatively low, home prices have continued to see fairly strong gains. Finally, per capita consumer debt levels—though they remain low—have risen more sharply in the Pittsburgh metro area than in Pennsylvania or the United States during the two-year period that ended in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Metro Area Snapshot
||Unemployment rate||Median home values||Payroll employment||Credit card delinquency rates|
|January 2017||One-year change
|Nearby metro average||4.8||0.1||$183,733||4.5||1,108||1.5||6.6||−0.4|
Despite the decline in overall employment, several sectors in the Pittsburgh metro area experienced employment gains.
|Sector||Employment||12-month change||Share of employment|
|Education and health services||227,902||3,992||20.7|
|Trade, transportation, and utilities||201,777||−2,886||18.3|
|Professional and business services||168,344||1,219||15.3|
|Leisure and hospitality||120,247||1,562||10.9|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages.
Despite the decline in overall employment in the year that ended in September 2016, several sectors experienced employment gains. Notable increases in employment came from the following sectors: education and health services, leisure and hospitality, and professional and business services. Collectively, these industries experienced a net increase in employment of 6,773 jobs, with increases in education and health services accounting for almost 60 percent of these gains. However, this increase was almost entirely offset by the declines that occurred among goods-producing industries, which shed 6,447 jobs. Trade, transportation, and utilities also shed 2,886 jobs, which was close to the net decline in employment for the metro area.
||Pittsburgh metro area||United States|
|2015||Change from 2009||2015||Change from 2009|
|Adults with less than a high school diploma (percent)||7.0||−2.0||12.9||−1.9|
|Adults with an undergraduate degree or higher (percent)||33.0||+5.1||30.6||+2.7|
|Median age (years)||43||+0.7||37.8||+1.0|
|Median household income||$55,583||+5.6%||$57,325||+0.5%|
Sources: US Census Bureau population estimates; American Community Survey.
Demographics and Education
According to 2015 US Census Bureau estimates, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is the 26th largest of the 381 metropolitan statistical areas in the United States.
All monthly and quarterly figures are seasonally adjusted, and all dollar figures are in current dollars except home prices (which are left nominal). Where applicable, these adjustments are made prior to calculating percent changes or indexes. Several charts use indexed measures to facilitate comparisons across regions and have a reference line at 100. These numbers can be thought of as the percentages of pre-recession levels. If levels were growing before the recession, pre-recession indexes will be below 100; if levels were falling before the recession, pre-recession indexes will be above 100.