Local Job Growth Ticks Upward

June 21, 2019
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Employers in southwestern Pennsylvania continued to boost their payrolls in May at a slow but steady pace that has characterized the regional job market over the past few years.

The seven-​county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area added 9,100 jobs from May 2018 and May 2019 – a 0.9 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 1.5 percent average among Pittsburgh Today’s benchmark regions during the same period.

It also is slightly lower than the 1.1 percent annual rate of job growth the region experienced in 2018.

Jobs in Seattle grew by 3.5 percent, the highest rate among the benchmark regions. Minneapolis continues to shed jobs and recorded a job loss of 0.2 percent in May. It was the only benchmark region to lose jobs last month.

Mining and construction strong

Job growth in the Pittsburgh region is robust in a few local industry sectors. Hiring remained strong in mining, logging and construction, which was up 6 percent in May. Other sectors hiring in May included leisure and hospitality, which boosted employment by 2.4 percent; wholesale trade, which added 2.1 percent more jobs; the information sector, which also added 2.1 percent more jobs, and education and health services, which saw a 0.6 percent increase in jobs.

Retail continued to bleed jobs in May. The sector shed 3.3 percent of the jobs reported a year ago. The industry has been in a downward spiral across the nation for the past several years, but the Pittsburgh region had the largest year-​over-​year job loss in May. Manufacturing jobs fell by 1.62 percent in May, continuing their downward trend after a year of growth in 2018. Other sectors that posted year-​over-​year job losses last month include trade, transportation and utilities, which fell 1.6 percent and government jobs declined by .3 percent.

Tepid job growth is not a new trend for the Pittsburgh region. The region’s five-​year job growth of 2.65 percent ranks the lowest among the Pittsburgh Today benchmark regions. Austin experienced the highest growth adding 18.7 percent more jobs over five years.

Julia Fraser

Julia Fraser is a Pittsburgh Today staff writer and research specialist.

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