|Untagged||19 Jun 2009|
|Another Nonsensical Pittsburgh Ranking by allegheny|
The Brookings Institute has just released a report showing Pittsburgh as having the 18th economically strongest metropolitan area. They say Pittsburgh is doing so well in this recession because most of the area's job strength lies in "eds" and "meds". This ranking is misleading and pure nonsense.
The study looked at jobs data from the fourth quarter of 2007 through the first quarter of 2009. A more detailed look at total private employment in the Pittsburgh metro shows that from March 2008 to March 2009 (last month of the first quarter), the area lost more than 19,000 jobs-at the time the largest year over year drop in more than two decades. Nor did the Brookings report include April 2009 employment data. It would have shown a loss of nearly 27,000 jobs from April 2008-and by far the largest drop in more than two decades. These job losses were widespread with almost every category sustaining significant losses.
And what of those eds and meds? Combined, they make up only 22 percent of the total private jobs in the Pittsburgh MSA. Most of the gains to the health sector (meds) are in the social assistance industry-more than one-third of the growth. Since 2000 job growth in the social assistance sector has outgrown the gains to private education sector (eds) by nearly two to one. These jobs are not high paying and most rely on heavy taxpayer subsidies to fund their operations. Not the basis for a strong economy.
But this will not matter for the area's cheerleaders. Despite its core city being in financial distress and droves of citizens leaving the area, they have another glowing ranking to add to their list. Meanwhile they ignore the problems stunting the area's real economic growth.