February Jobs Report: Still Dismal
The Pittsburgh region continued to hemorrhage jobs in February, according recently released data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area lost 82,400 jobs between February 2020 and February 2021, amounting to a 7.8 percent decrease over the year. Job losses in the region exceeded the 6.7 percent average decline among the 16 Pittsburgh Today benchmark regions.
“The job destruction has remained significant,” said Chris Briem, a regional economist at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Social and Urban Research. “We haven’t really made up any ground in jobs in the past six months.”
No job sector in the Pittsburgh region was spared from job losses in February. As has been the case since the pandemic struck, the leisure and hospitality sector was hit the hardest. The sector lost about 25 percent of the jobs it provided a year ago.
The sustained job losses are not a local phenomenon. All of Pittsburgh Today’s 16 benchmark regions reported job losses between February 2020 and February 2021.
Austin fared the best — limiting its losses to a 3 percent decline over the year. Employers in the Boston area shed the most jobs, losing 9.1 percent of the jobs from a year prior.
Even as Pennsylvania has loosened operating restrictions on some businesses, a swift jab of economy recovery is not likely, Briem said. “The post-COVID snap back hasn’t started yet.” The state lifting restrictions won’t probably have an immediate impact. But with the vaccinations, we should see some rebound in the hardest hit industries. If the workers are there, and the public health concerns abate, a decent number of those jobs could come back quickly.”