Is the recession loosening its grip on the Pittsburgh area? According to the latest payroll employment data for August, the answer may be “yes”. August marked the third straight month that total private jobs showed a year-over-year increase. The August 2010 figure of just over one million jobs bests the August 2009 figure of 994,300 by more than one-half percent. This follows on the heels of small year to year increases in June and July. While relatively miniscule, these gains represent the first positive upswing in the year-over-year payroll employment since October 2008.