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Pittsburgh metro area’s economy and job market strengthen, say Cleveland Fed researchers

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The Pittsburgh metro area’s economy strengthened as employment grew steadily in the first nine months of 2018. In the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s latest Pittsburgh Metro Mix, Bank researchers Mekael Teshome and Sarah Mattson note that since the beginning of 2017, employment in the Pittsburgh metro area has been growing at a 1.1 percent average annual rate, bucking the trend of stagnant employment levels that the metro area had seen between 2012 and 2016.

“The unemployment rate has been near record-low levels since the spring of 2018 and has ranged from 3.8 percent to 4.2 percent during that time, even as the labor force grew,” write Teshome and Mattson. Education and health services, financial activities, and construction added jobs during this period, as they have been consistently doing throughout this economic expansion.

Two measures of local prosperity, GDP per capita and income per capita, rose in 2017, suggesting businesses and workers have become more productive. GDP per capita has been growing faster in the Pittsburgh metro area than in the state and the nation since the Great Recession.

Examining the housing market, Teshome and Mattson find housing permitting was stable, and home price appreciation, though a bit slower than in 2018, continued at a strong pace consistent with long-term trends. Pittsburgh metro area home price appreciation moderated to 5.2 percent in February 2019 from a peak of 7.6 percent in July 2018. The average home value in the Pittsburgh metro area is about $145,000, relative to $173,000 in the state and $226,000 in the nation.

For more of Teshome and Mattson’s insights on economic conditions in the Pittsburgh area, read our latest Pittsburgh Metro Mix.

Browse 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.

Pittsburgh ranks 55 out of 121 metro areas in shares of employment opportunities for workers without a college degree

A recent study by the Federal Reserve Banks of Cleveland and Philadelphia identifies jobs that do not require a four-year college degree and give workers the opportunity to earn above the national annual median wage of $37,690 (adjusted for differences in regional price levels). These jobs are the focus of “Opportunity Occupations Revisited: Exploring Employment for Sub-Baccalaureate Workers Across Metro Areas and Over Time.” Find fact sheets for Pittsburgh and the other metro areas examined in the report here.

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