Wednesday, July 29, 2009

unemployment again

One follow-up to the news Monday on the (fractional) uptick in the local unemployment rate. The story that still does not seem to want to resonate is what is happening to the unemployment rate within the region. You can read the states PR and see that there was an uptick in the unemployment rate for City of Pittsburgh residents from 6.9 to 7.2% for May and June respectively. For an urban core are that still remains pretty remarkable. The comparable unemployment rate number for the City of Detroit is up to 28.2% for June, or just under 4 times what is is for Pittsburgh. It's basically a debilitating number no matter how you look at it. I have mentioned in the past that Beaver County locally peaked at 28% unemployment in the early 1980's. But I don't think anyone has written much on the city-angle or other intra-regional aspects to all of this.

The highest unemployment rates in the region are going back to the regions often hardest hit during periods of either boom or bust. Both Fayette and Armstrong Counties are pushing close to 10% unemployment.

and speaking of employment in the city proper... I would love to hear if anyone has any anecdotal insights into whether the imminent casino opening is having an impact locally. By that I don't just mean whether local folks are getting some of the jobs, but I was wondering if other local firms have noticed an impact on their hiring based on the hiring the casino has been doing of late.


Blogger n'at said...

i don't believe the casino will make much of a dent. Hourly and salaried employees for casinos can come from a broad range of areas, because casinos are run much like government buildings, institutions of higher learning, large corporate centers.

The higher salaried positions for gaming floor management, security, facilities/building/physical plant management will have no trouble in stealing away those who are currently employed.

The hourly service jobs (valet, food and beverage, housekeeping) may possibly be part-timers, which wouldn't affect the unemployment rate either.

So the lower to middle management and operations positions (counters, physical plant, VIP services, finance, surveillance) will probably have greatest likelihood - I believe - in pulling folks off of unemployment. And the applicants will cover western PA, northern panhandle of WV, and eastern OH.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 8:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From an AP report yesterday: "The casino will employ 1,021 full time and about 60 part time workers. It is expected to generate between $360 million to $425 million in revenue annually once fully up and running, said gaming spokesman Doug Harbach."

From yesterday's PBT: "The number of seasonally adjusted jobs in the Pittsburgh area declined by 2,100 in June, to 1,120,900."

My math might be wrong, but it looks like the casino will account for 1/10 of 1 percent of Pittsburgh area jobs. Is that a lot?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 9:54:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

I've been musing over a post just on the casino impact. or at least the employment numbers. The earliest numbers thrown out for what the direct employment impact would be at a potentail casino was 4,000 long ago. Barden quoted 3,000 once early on. 2,000 is what was in some of the proposals when the license was beind debated and we are now at a fairly hard 1000 number.

but in a previous post I commented that Pittsburgh is 1.9 percentage points below the nation. If that gets to 2.0 we will be in uncharted territory in that you cant find a period when the local unemployment rate was so far below. So that 1/10th of 1 percent I muse could be the difference between 1.9 and 2.0.

Don't get me wrong. I am not sanguine about the casino impact, but 1,000 jobs is not inconsequential and it is important that it's 1,000 at one place. There will be some (big, small or in between we will have to see) secondary impact. The initial impact will be less than the long run for sure.

My current thought is that if there was no recession and job markets were tighter there would be more of a story to the casino hiring ramping up. As it is, there is enough slack even here that it is sopping up a bit of the recession induced labor supply.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 10:08:00 AM  
Anonymous MH said...

They'll probably start table games as soon as the government's take isn't big enough to meet 1/4 of the things it has been promised for. That might help with more jobs.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger n'at said...

Secondary Impacts: payday lenders, 24-hour check cashing kiosks, pawn shops, and a slight downturn in lotto ticket and top shelf liquor sales?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 1:02:00 PM  

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