Pittsburgh Area Jobs Grew in June

Private sector employment grew in June at a respectable pace as measured by the change from June 2011. Jobs increased by 19,000 over the period, a rise of nearly two percent. Still, the latest monthly and quarterly gains are well below the torrid pace of 30,000 plus gains set in the fourth quarter of last year.

June’s good year over year growth reflects strong gains in professional and technical service (3,500), leisure and hospitality (4,500), and trucking (1,900, an almost 10 percent 12 month rise). Education and health services rose a solid 3,800 but that is well below the very strong gains from last fall when 12 month gains topped 13,000.

On a less positive note, construction employment fell by 2,700 compared to June 2011 while manufacturing managed a tiny 300 gain. Mining and logging slowed to 1,100 from the nearly 2,000 yearly rise posted in June 2011.

Overall, the June 2012 jobs numbers are good but with the Marcellus drilling activity slowing from the year ago blistering pace, the trucking, technical and hospitality sectors could begin to be negatively affected.

All told, the Pittsburgh area has profited from the gas drilling and the fact that there was no major collapse of the housing sector as happened in so much of the then fast growing regions of the country.

Airport Area Deep with TIFs

On the heels of yesterday’s editorial on the resurgence of activity for tax increment financing, Allegheny County Council is scheduled to debate the merits of moving forward with five TIF plans this week, four of them in the airport area.

The op-ed pointed out the qualities of the best TIF projects and from the documentation in the papers for Council it seems that all four airport-area projects will be warehouse/office/flex space and the proceeds of the financing will be directed toward infrastructure, such as environmental remediation, roads, and water, storm, and sewer projects.

The projects are expected to add about 1.8 million square feet in space at total build out. Of course, the use of tax increment financing requires the utilization of prevailing wages, which will add to the price tag of the construction.