Go Figure: Unemployment R Us
- As of March, number of consecutive months the Pittsburgh unemployment rate has trailed below the US rate: 30.
- How much of the recession have we missed thus far? Average unemployment rate in 2008 for the US: 5.7, for Pittsburgh: 4.1
- Last year that that the local unemployment rate (annually) was so far below the US: 1976
- Percentage of months in the last 30 years that the local unemployment rate has been at 7.2 or higher? 29%
- and if nothing else... Pirates attendance is up. an economic indicator? Probably not.
and again, my rust belt watch:
Detroit only increased unemployment rate a bit, from 13 to 13.2% and Cleveland actually came down a bit from 8.5 to 8.3%. I'd read more into that but my call is that these little moves pale in comparison to what the impact will be dependent on the outcome of all the machinations in the auto industry. If GM really slices jobs as much as they are saying they want to or either GM or Chrysler really go through a bankruptcy in one form or another than who knows what will be the result.
What is getting to Pittsburgh? You just can't ignore the sheer impact the credit crisis had everywhere. Difficult credit has and will be impacting a wide range of investment for a long time... and as much as we talk about a new Pittsburgh, there still is a steel and manufacturing industry here. The global steel industry in particular has pretty much gone from dead to deader across the board and similar stories can be found in almost all durable goods production. With slumps in both construction and auto manufacturing in the fall reaching near epic proportions, you are seeing steel production bottom out as well.
But stimulus is coming right? Has to be a lot of steel in the infrastructure coming down the road. Even if that happens, manufacturing employment is at its lowest levels ever in Pittsburgh... if not in sheer numbers than in proportion of the workforce. Sometimes I think words like post-industrial are overused, but we may really define it at this point. In fact, long before this recession I would point out that our location quotient in manufacturing employment was below 1.0.. that means that we are less of a manufacturing region than the US is on average across the nation. Think about that some. It is even more extreme now.