Region Adds Jobs, But Growth Slows
Employers in southwestern Pennsylvania continued to boost their payrolls in September, but at a slower pace than what has characterized the regional job market over the past year.
The seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area added 1,100 jobs from September 2018 to September 2019 – a 0.09 percent year-over-year increase, according to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That rate of growth rate falls below the 1.3 percent average among the Pittsburgh Today benchmark regions during the same period.
The region’s job growth in September also fell short of the 1.1 percent annual rate of job growth the region experienced in 2018.
Jobs in Seattle grew by 3.3 percent, the highest rate among the benchmark regions. Minneapolis recorded a job loss of 0.2 percent in September, the lowest rate among the benchmark regions. Detroit also shed jobs with a job loss of 0.04 percent last month. They were the only benchmark regions to lose jobs during that period.
Strong hiring in a few industry sectors has driven job growth in southwestern Pennsylvania during the past few months and the trend continued in September. Hiring in the information sector, which includes many technology-related jobs, was up 1.5 percent from September 2018 to September 2019. Also enjoying a strong year is the mining, logging and construction sector, which saw hiring increase by 1.2 percent during the latest year-over-year period.
Other sectors hiring in September included wholesale trade, which added 1.6 percent more jobs; business and professional services, which saw a 1.3 percent increase in jobs; and government, which increased jobs by .8 percent; and leisure and hospitality, which boosted employment by 0.6 percent.
Local manufacturing continued to bleed jobs in September. The sector shed 3.1 percent of the jobs reported a year ago—the lowest among the benchmark regions. It is further evidence that the industry hasn’t shaken the hiring slump it has been in this year, which came on the heels of a welcomed hiring surge in 2018. Other sectors that posted year-over-year job losses last month include financial activities sectors, which dropped 2 percent; education and health services jobs, which declined by 0.9 percent; jobs in retail, which dropped .5 percent; and trade, transportation and utilities, which fell .05 percent.
Mild job growth has characterized Pittsburgh’s economy in recent years. The region’s five-year job growth of 2.3 percent ranks the lowest among the Pittsburgh Today benchmark regions. Austin experienced the highest growth adding 17.8 percent more jobs over five years.