Treading Water in the Shallow End of the Pool
Between January 2008 and January 2009, the Pittsburgh Region had lost a net total of 8,600 jobs, or a little less than 8/10 of 1% of the total jobs in the region. That's a lot of jobs, but far less than most regions. By way of comparison, the three major metro areas in Ohio have lost between 2 and 5 times as many jobs -- Columbus has lost almost 19,000 jobs, Cincinnati has lost over 24,000 jobs, and Cleveland has lost a whopping 44,000 jobs in the past year.
The only large regions that have done better than Pittsburgh in the past year are the metro areas in Texas (Austin, Houston, and San Antonio all actually had more jobs in January than they did a year earlier), Washington, DC, Virginia Beach, and New Orleans. (New Orleans isn't really growing, it's just slowly recovering from the devastating job losses after Hurricane Katrina.)
Underneath our relatively small total net job loss are some significant increases and decreases by industry. Thousands of jobs added in health care, higher education, and local government over the past year have been helping to offset over ten thousand jobs lost in retail, leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, and several other sectors.
In most cases, the pattern of job gains and job losses here is similar to the rest of the country, but better. For example, education and health services added jobs in every major region of the country, even regions like Detroit and Phoenix that have each experienced total net losses of over 100,000 jobs. Every region but Houston lost manufacturing jobs; Pittsburgh's loss of 3,200 manufacturing jobs was actually the 6th smallest loss in percentage terms among the top 40 regions.
The one sector that has been suffering disproportionately in Pittsburgh is leisure and hospitality; we've lost 4,600 jobs in that sector (4.6% of the total), the 5th biggest reduction among the top 40 regions. Although part of this has been in the hotel and restaurant sector, the bulk has been in arts and entertainment. Unfortunately, the data available aren't detailed enough to understand exactly which organizations and which kinds of jobs are being lost.