Be Glad You're in Pittsburgh and Not Somewhere Else
Although the Pittsburgh Region went into the 2001 recession more slowly than did the U.S., Pittsburgh began losing jobs within two months after the U.S. economy did. In contrast, in 2008, the U.S. economy has been losing jobs for 5 straight months, while the number of jobs in the Pittsburgh Region has been increasing throughout that same time period. (Click on the graphic if you'd like to examine it more closely.)
The fact that total jobs are up here doesn't mean that no one has lost their job; it's clear that underneath the overall growth, some businesses are downsizing or closing while others are growing. Moreover, in some cases, even if jobs haven't been cut, hours may have been reduced, salary increases or bonuses reduced or eliminated, and a greater share of health care costs shifted to employees, making it harder for families to make ends meet.
But those negative effects would be even greater if we had experienced the kind of overall job losses that other regions have. Detroit, for example, has lost over 55,000 jobs in the past year, nearly 3% of its total employment. Relative to other regions, Pittsburgh is doing very well -- it ranked 9th in job growth among the top 40 regions from October 2007 to October 2008.