Seasonal Hiring Boosts Local Jobs
Seasonal jobs returned to the Pittsburgh region in April, but a snap back to a pre-pandemic economy remains elusive, according the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area gained 15,200 jobs from March to April 2021 — a 1.4 percent gain, according to the BLS.
“It’s the seasonal growth that’s expected,” said Chris Briem, a regional economist at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Social and Urban Research.
The addition of 15,000 jobs is about the average change in non-seasonally adjusted jobs the region has experienced every year in the past decade.
“Is that good or bad? It’s good that we’re seeing these normal seasonal gains — it looks like some part of the economy is working,” Briem said. “But it does not reflect any gains of the jobs that we’ve lost since COVID set in. We’re not making up ground.”
Much of this growth was concentrated in the construction and the leisure and hospitality industries, which typically experience a surge of hiring in the spring. Employers in the construction industry added 6,500 jobs from March to April — up 11.6 percent from the previous month. Leisure and hospitality jobs increased 4.4 percent during that period.
Financial activities, professional and business services, information and education and health sectors posted modest gains over the past month. But manufacturing, trade transportation and utilities and wholesale trade continued to post monthly job losses in April.
“The things you are expecting to see seasonal gains from, we are, but the baseline appears to be pretty much flat since the fall,” Briem said. “We’re just not there yet.”