Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Labor Day answers

Well, not much interest in my Labor Day quiz. The answers fyi: Most just don't believe this, but private sector unionization is below 10% of all workers in the Pittsburgh region, around 9.5% actually and generally declining. And what people really can't get their heads around is that relatively speaking, unionization rates are low here. Of the 4 cities listed: Seattle, New York, Las Vegas and Pittsburgh, it is indeed Pittsburgh that today has the lowest overall unionization rate for workers.

What does it mean? Depends on your perspective. People who say Pittsburgh is not attractive to new investment or new firms because of union issues they would have to deal with seem to be talking about some long past Pittsburgh. That 9.5% private sector unionization rate is itself concentrated among just a few industries and types of workers. Take out heavy manufacturing and a few others and the unionization rates for workers in most local industries/occupations are some very small percentages.

The unionization rate here is really no more than average compared to large metropolitan regions in the US. I admit to a little self selection in the 4 regions I compared Pittsburgh to. The point is that some of the faster growing regions we strive to be are actually more unionized than here. I think many in town would like to have the economic growth rates of Las Vegas, Seattle or New York. The simple correlation some like to draw between unionization rates and growth is just a tad bit more complicated in the real world.

But just in honor of Labor Day, Batman does equal pay:

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