Tuesday, March 14, 2006

What Kinds of Jobs is the Pittsburgh Region Creating? (Part 3)

The Pittsburgh Region has been creating jobs for scientists, engineers, and health professionals at a faster rate than most regions.

The Pittsburgh Region has also been retaining jobs for production workers at a higher rate than most regions.

“Hmm,” you say, “we must be doing worse than other regions for some kinds of jobs, or we’d look better in the national rankings on job growth.”

That’s true, we have done worse in several areas. The Pittsburgh Region lost a lot of jobs in transportation-related occupations (e.g., airline industry, trucking, parking, river shipping, etc.) – nearly 30% of those jobs disappeared between 1999 and 2004. The USAirways bankruptcy and layoffs were a significant cause of this.

The region also lost a lot of management jobs. Although this was a trend nationally as well, it hit harder here, likely because of the number of corporate headquarters the region has been blessed with over the years. (An overall loss of “manufacturing jobs" can mean either management or production or both, and in the Pittsburgh region's case, it may have hit management harder than production.)

Management, business, and financial operations jobs declined by 17% in the Pittsburgh Region, compared to an 8.7% drop nationally. But other regions lost more jobs than we did, including Cleveland, Kansas City, Milwaukee, and Seattle.

Education and training jobs stayed flat here, but increased by 8.5% nationally, likely due in part to growth in population and schools elsewhere. While those jobs didn’t grow in the Pittsburgh Region, they didn’t shrink like they did in some regions.

The combination of those and other factors meant that despite the good performance in science, engineering, health care, and production jobs, total jobs in the Pittsburgh Region increased by only 0.6% between 1999 and 2004, while jobs nationally grew by 1.9%.

Unfortunately, 2005 turned out to be a particularly disappointing year for regional job growth in Pittsburgh, and other regions made up some of the ground they had lost to Pittsburgh in previous years. We won’t know the specific kinds of jobs that were affected here until new occupational data are released later this year.


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