Pittsburgh MSA Jobs Data Disappoints

Summary of Study

Employer payroll data for the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area (Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington, and Westmoreland counties) for 2020 show the devastating impact of the pandemic lockdown and restrictions.

The monthly average number of total non-farm jobs for 2020 came in at 1.106 million and was the lowest annual average since 1997. The previous low occurred in 2009 (1.120 million).

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Feature Charticle

Allegheny Institute for Public Policy


  • The Pittsburgh MSA’s non-farm jobs growth has been sluggish since 2000. Indeed, private-sector employment rose at a paltry average annual rate of just 0.3 percent in the 19 years from 2000 to 2019 and saw all those gains wiped out in 2020.
  • The trade, transportation, and utilities super sector has not done well, posting job losses in 15 of 20 years before the pandemic of 2020, with only three positive annual gains posted—2010 (0.11 percent), 2011 (1.27 percent), and 2014 (0.44 percent).
  • The education and health super sector had steadily grown since 2000 from 198,100 to 259,200—an impressive jump of 61,000 or 31 percent—before dropping back 5.47 percent to 245,000 in 2020. The sector’s gain over 19 years was greater than the increase in total non-farm jobs of 47,000.
  • From 2019 to 2020, the MSA shed 26.68 percent of its leisure and hospitality jobs—32,300 jobs. This sector was among the fastest growing in the MSA for a long time with 24.8 percent growth from 2000 (97,000) to 2019 (121,100). In 2020, that average monthly total fell to just 88,800.

Read the full policy briefing here