There’s evidence that employers are beginning to hire again, but there are precious few places in the country that have more jobs now than they did before the recession, and metro Pittsburgh turns out to be one of them. The Wall Street Journal reports that researchers at the Brookings Institution have analyzed local economic conditions among the top 100 metros and discovered that Pittsburgh is one of just 14 that have more jobs now than before the recession. Six of the metros that outpace us on that front are in Texas, with a seventh in nearby Oklahoma City. The other six are Omaha, Salt Lake City, San Jose, Knoxville, Washington, D.C. and Charleston, South Carolina
What do these places have in common? Brookings says they all have a stable employment base, anchored by either universities, government agencies or high-tech hubs. Not bad company to be in.
But there are also warning signs on the horizon.
Pittsburgh has fallen from 13th place to 23rd in the March edition of The Business Journals’ On Numbers Economic Index, a measure of regional economic vitality compiled by the parent company of the Pittsburgh Business Times. Austin ranked number one, followed by Provo, Utah; Houston; Oklahoma City and Dallas/Fort Worth.
So, what gives? According to the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, regions that got hit harder by the recession are now growing faster than ours, fueled by younger, growing populations.
Our region is still growing, but at what’s become its usual, steady pace. We tend not to boom, so we tend not to bust.
But in relative terms, we seem to be slowing down. It makes it a bit more challenging to spread the word about opportunity here.
So, we can’t afford to be complacent about the progress we’ve made — and we’re going to have work harder than ever to build on our momentum.
Today at the Allegheny Conference’s quarterly meeting of our 300+ Regional Investors – the companies and institutions that make up our membership – we’ll be outlining some of our plans to that end. Check back here at ImaginePittsburghNow.com to learn more, and follow us on our social media channels Facebook and Twitter to let us know what you think.