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Press Release

Meaningful employment gains in Pittsburgh show broad-based job growth

Increases in 7 of the area’s 10 major industries show break from 5-year employment lull.

Employment in the Pittsburgh region began to trend upward in 2017 for the first time in 5 years, according to data examined by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s Mekael Teshome and Sarah Mattson. During the first nine months of 2017, employment in the metro area grew by 1.6 percent on an annualized basis, better than the 1.4 percent growth in Pennsylvania or 1.2 percent growth in the US.

Of the area’s 10 major employment sectors, 7 showed upward momentum. The most substantial boost could be traced backed to the region’s largest sector: education and health services, which added nearly 6,000 jobs from September 2016 to September 2017. However, the recent growth should be placed in some important context.

“Employment levels in the Pittsburgh metro area are only 1.1 percent higher than they were at the start of the Great Recession,” says Teshome. “By comparison, total employment in Pennsylvania is 2.6 percent higher than its prerecession peak, and total employment in the nation is 6.0 percent higher.” In addition, unemployment in Pittsburgh remains elevated at 4.9 percent versus the state’s 4.8 percent and the nation’s 4.1 percent level.

Despite these elevated unemployment figures, the job growth in the Pittsburgh region is reason to take note. Beginning in January 2017, local employment sectors began outpacing national trends and by September natural resources and mining, construction, education and health services, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and information were all growing faster in the Pittsburgh region compared to the United States.

“This growth is a notable departure from recent trends,” according to Teshome.

For more of Mekael and Sarah’s insights on economic conditions in the Pittsburgh area, see our latest Pittsburgh Metro Mix.

And browse through our Region, for data, maps, research, and other information related to the diverse economies and communities in the region served by the Cleveland Fed: Ohio, eastern Kentucky, western Pennsylvania, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia.

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that along with the Board of Governors in Washington DC comprise the Federal Reserve System. Part of the US central bank, the Cleveland Fed participates in the formulation of our nation’s monetary policy, supervises banking organizations, provides payment and other services to financial institutions and to the US Treasury, and performs many activities that support Federal Reserve operations System-wide. In addition, the Bank supports the well-being of communities across the Fourth Federal Reserve District through a wide array of research, outreach, and educational activities.

The Cleveland Fed, with branches in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, serves an area that comprises Ohio, western Pennsylvania, eastern Kentucky, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia.

Media contact

Doug Campbell,, 513.455.4479