Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Rust Belt Watch

News is that Pittsburgh's unemployment rate is up to 5.8% in November, up 3/10ths of a point from the month earlier. Detroit's unemployment rate jumped a full percentage point, from 9 to 10%, between October and November. Cleveland's rate inched up a bit from 7 to 7.3%. Worth noting that that is Detroit's regional unemployment rate. The City of Detroit already has an unemployment rate over 16%, compared to the City of Pittsburgh which has unemployment measured at 5.5% for November. That is remarkable if for no other reason than that our urban core has lower unemployment rate than the region, the opposite by far from Detroit's pattern which is probably more typical of other big US cities. Detroit's problems were unique before the current recession. They have long been dealing with their urban core's transformation into new urban praries. So this is all going to be painful for them. We have those problems as well in certain areas, but as bad as it is for us, it's another whole scale of problems up there.

So here is the current version of my rust belt tracker looks like fwiw:


Blogger Bram Reichbaum said...

I think this is another reflection of the housing bubble phenomenon. We never had explosions of investment and entrepreneurship here, so we don't have a lot of chaff falling away. The jobs we do have are by and large jobs we need.

Not that we shouldn't be happy.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008 9:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What it is is another example of Pittsburgh's continued reliance on facts out of context to maintain its self delusion that things are just peachy keen here.

Unemployment statistics are a comparison of the available labor market to available jobs... the fact that Pittsburgh suffered so much population loss the past few decades, especially amongst working age people, that continue to this day, and the region's percentage of elderly population continues to rise means that the number of people looking for work has shrunk and is still shrinking - that's all.

95% of Pittsburgh's college graduates leave for jobs in other cities immediately after graduation and the baby boomers who make up a significant portion of the population are beginning to retire and aren't looking for jobs either that's all that's going on here.

An "urban core" has to actually have young people looking for jobs for there to be an increase in unemployment and Pixsburg ain't got none ah dat.

Friday, January 02, 2009 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

wow, so many misconceptions all wrapped up in one place that I presume you are just baiting me.. but in case you are not... I have dealt as best I can with some of them. Employment levels are at all time highs in Pittsburgh and Labor force has generally been going up as well. Seriously. The idea that the elderly percentage is going up here:


and finally the great myth that young people are leaving in droves. Sure they are.. but not at rates unexpected for a place that has a disproportionate number of college graduates and not relatively high compared to a lot of places that we think are great attractors of the elusive young migrant.

Friday, January 02, 2009 11:37:00 PM  
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