Region Continues Adding Jobs, But Can’t Erase Pandemic Losses
Jobs ticked up in the Pittsburgh region in September, but incremental gains haven’t been enough to bring the number of jobs back up to pre-pandemic levels.
Employers in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area added 11,700 jobs from August to September, a 1 percent monthly gain, according to recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And the number of jobs in the region grew 2.9 percent from September 2021 to September 2022.
But the 1,158,800 jobs reported last month falls 41,000 short of the number of workers in Sept. 2019. “We’re still down from where we would’ve been three years ago and we’re not heading back,” said Chris Briem, a regional economist at the University of Pittsburgh’s University Center for Social and Urban Research. “We’ve seen limited growth this year, but it’s not a lot. It’s a reset.”
While most job sectors in the region have experienced flat or minimal growth, the leisure and hospitality industry has clawed back jobs lost to the pandemic. The sector reported a 12.4 percent year-over-year increase in jobs in September with 122,500 jobs reported in the region, just shy of the 118,600 jobs held September 2019. “I think the headline there is that we made it back to where we were before COVID,” Briem said. “There’s some shifting of jobs within the restaurant [sector] with fewer full-service restaurant jobs and more limited-service jobs. There are many more limited-service jobs now than there were before the pandemic. And that shift might be a permanent shift in the industry.”