The Pittsburgh area continued to cut jobs in February, according to recently released data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The statistical metropolitan area of Pittsburgh with seven counties lost 82,400 jobs between February 2020 and February 2021, which corresponds to a decrease of 7.8 percent over the course of the year. The region’s job losses exceeded the 6.7 percent average decline among Pittsburgh Today’s 16 reference regions.
“The destruction of jobs continues to be significant,” said Chris Briem, regional economist at the Center for Social and Urban Research at the University of Pittsburgh. “We haven’t really caught up on jobs in the last six months.”
No job sector in the Pittsburgh area was spared job losses in February. As since the pandemic, the leisure and hospitality sectors have been hardest hit. The sector lost around 25 percent of the jobs it created a year ago.
The persistent loss of jobs is not a local phenomenon. All of Pittsburgh Today’s 16 benchmark regions reported job losses between February 2020 and February 2021.
Austin did the best, limiting its losses to a 3 percent decline over the year. Employers in the Boston area cut the most jobs, losing 9.1 percent of jobs year over year.
Even if Pennsylvania has eased operating restrictions on some businesses, the economy is unlikely to recover quickly, Briem said. “The post-COVID snapback has not started yet.” The state waiver restrictions are unlikely to have an immediate impact. But with vaccinations, we should see a recovery in the hardest hit industries. If the workers are there and public health concerns subside, a decent number of these jobs could be returning quickly. “