Job losses in the Pittsburgh area continued to surge in January, and revised data shows that worrying losses across industries over the past year were worse than first reported, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The statistical metropolitan area of Pittsburgh with seven counties lost about 85,000 jobs between January 2020 and January 2021 – a temporary decrease of 8.0 percent over the course of the year. The local job loss rate was higher than the average 7.1 percent decline among Pittsburgh Today’s 16 reference regions.
With the preliminary job data for January came more bad news: Annual revisions of previously reported job data for 2020 paint a bleak picture of the region’s economy during the coronavirus pandemic. For example, the Pittsburgh area lost 20,100 more jobs in December 2020 than indicated in preliminary data.
“The hole just got bigger,” said Chris Briem, regional economist at the Center for Social and Urban Research at the University of Pittsburgh. “Most of the revisions are directed downwards. The bottom line is that 2020 was worse than we thought and we thought 2020 was pretty bad. “
The revisions have eliminated small job gains in the financial services sector – the one industry that appears to have created new jobs over the past year. “That’s completely gone,” said Briem. “But it’s still one of the more resilient sectors.” The sector lost 3.1 percent of its jobs from January 2020 to January 2021.
The local economy showed few signs of recovery in the first month of 2021.
According to preliminary data, every sector in the Pittsburgh area lost jobs from January 2020 to January 2021. The leisure and hospitality sectors were hardest hit, losing more than 27 percent of the jobs provided in January 2020.
The manufacturing companies in the region cut 8.2 percent of their jobs in the twelve-month period.
The Pittsburgh area is not alone. All of Pittsburgh’s 16 reference regions today lost jobs between January 2020 and January 2021. Austin suffered the least pain and lost 2.8 percent of his jobs. Boston experienced the worst decline, losing 9.8 percent of its jobs year over year.
“Economic metrics will follow as public health concerns evolve,” Briem said. “Until public health concerns subside, I’m not entirely sure you will see an upturn.”