PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — We’re so used to getting good economic news about this region that hearing some bad news is, well, disturbing.
“No place is number one all the time,” says Doug Heuck, director of Pittsburgh Today that monitors Pittsburgh’s economic situation against 14 other benchmark cities.
“Of the 15 benchmark regions, Pittsburgh was the only one to actually lose jobs, about 1,900 jobs,” Heuck told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Tuesday.
The latest unemployment figures just released show a region with higher unemployment than most.
At 5.9 percent, unemployment in the Pittsburgh area is worse than the rest of the state by two-tenths of a point and much worse than the national unemployment rate of 4.9 percent.
State analysts tell KDKA that certain sectors have been hard hit like drilling, mining, manufacturing, and the administration services that support them.
For example, from August last year to August this year, mining and drilling lost 1,800 jobs locally, manufacturing lost 2,300 jobs, and transportation lost 3,100 jobs.
Heuck says it’s the slow-down in Marcellus Shale drilling that hurts so much.
“I think what we see here is just how much the Marcellus Shale and the energy industry has given us through the teeth of the great recession,” he said.
Off-setting those losses somewhat has been the continued growth in education and health services and in the hospitality sector.
“The eds and meds, so-called, have been a stalwart in our region through the great recession. They were kind of steady as they go. Tourism has been the bright spot for the last four or five years,” Heuck said.
And Heuck is optimistic the construction jobs building the new Shell cracker plant could restore job growth to the region next year.