Tuesday, July 31, 2012

No story here... move on....

Maybe it would be interesting if compared to this national trend:

So let's see...   Labor force = (working age) population  x labor force participation

using deeply atrophied algebra (algebra you may not have noticed is under some deeply deeply defeatist attacks of late):

population = labor force / labor force participation

hmmmm........   but so as to be a bit more thorough, it is important to note that Pennsylvania's labor force participation is up 0.5% over the year (June to June).. which if true for the Pittsburgh region would be responsible for a year over year increase in the size of the labor force of around 9,000 people (remember it's a ratio of the working age population)... or roughly 3/8th of the total increase in the region's labor force (+24 thousand) over that time.   What you often see in public punditry is an overeliance on the explanation that people are 'jumping into' or out of the labor market as conditions change.  Labor force participation changes a lot more slowly than most presume and is not the answer for most variance in the labor force regionally.  It is a different issue than for the nation since migration impacts regional labor markets in a distinct way compared to the national labor market. 

and just btw...  population flows are typically greater than labor market migration flows since workers often bring with them their families.. not all of whom are made up of folks in the labor force.

And just in case we are lacking a resident labor historian I will point out one last little observation.  Compare the rates at which Pittsburgh's labor force was growing in the 1970's and what has been the trend the last few years here.    Comparable periods?   There was this minor social phenomenon called the 'baby boom' that resulted in more than a few people entering the workforce mostly in the 1970s.   I think we can all rest assured on the assumption that there was not some secret ramp up in births in Pittsburgh 20 years ago that is responsible for what is going on now. 


Anonymous BrianTH said...

Continuing a now long-standing trend:

Pittsburgh Metro +1.96%
City of Pittsburgh +2.08%

Tuesday, July 31, 2012 10:12:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

Brian... those numbers should actually give you pause given just how similar they are. I've not had the time to get into a post on this and it may be even too wonky to get into even here. But because of your comments and a few other issues that have popped up I have refreshed myself on all the methodology for these small area LAUS stats and to oversimplify a fair bit there just isnt much new data going into the monthy updates for the smaller areas. I myself don't believe the county breakdowns of the labor force data much and certainly not the city/muni numbers that the state puts out.. I kind of wish they didn't put them out because it may be causing more confusion than they are worth. Most of what you get are really extrapolations based on some past relationships.. The longer answer is worth getting into.. just not now. I will say that I don't think the city is seeing any increase in folks paying its earned income tax... So I am just saying I'd be careful with that stat in itself.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012 10:43:00 PM  
Anonymous BrianTH said...

I'll look forward to your longer answer.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012 11:56:00 PM  
Anonymous david vartanoff said...

And you are asking me to believe that these numbers exceed those of the 1950s when productivity per worker was less and all othe steel mills were running full tilt?

Friday, August 03, 2012 1:15:00 PM  
Anonymous BrianTH said...

Yes, largely because of women.

Friday, August 03, 2012 5:57:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

It is telling that people don't even believe it. It is not even close by the way.. employment and labor force is well above any period before the largest declines in heavy industry.

Go read old news if you don't believe me. I put up one key reference on this recently:


Friday, August 03, 2012 6:08:00 PM  

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