Employers continue to add to their payrolls in southwestern Pennsylvania in May, although there are signs it might be slowing.
The region added 12,800 jobs from May 2017 to May 2018—a 1.2 percent increase, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
“There’s been little bit of slowing over the growth rates that have registered in the previous months,” said Jim Futrell, vice president, market research, Allegheny Conference on Community Development. “I don’t know if that portends to a longer trend but that’s the one thing that jumped out at me.”
All of the benchmark regions posted positive job growth in May. Milwaukee experienced the least growth with jobs increasing only .8 percent increase during the 12-month period.
Job growth in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area still lags the 1.9 percent average among 16 Pittsburgh Today benchmark from May 2017 to May 2018. The two benchmark regions where job growth was the most robust are also experiencing booming population growth. In Austin, Texas, jobs increased 4.4 percent, and in Seattle, Washington, jobs grew by 3.7 percent.
Manufacturing had another good month with a two percent increase year-over-year.
“We haven’t seen that growth in awhile,” said Futrell. “We’ve had growth in manufacturing every month this year.”
He said one possible explanation is that manufacturers had been focusing more on productivity enhancements rather than adding employees to increase their output. “It might be to the point that they squeezed as much productivity as they could out of their facilities and had to start adding head count.”
Most of other industries continued the trends they have been registering so far this year. Mining, logging and construction (up 5.1 percent), business and professional services (up 1.4 percent), leisure and hospitality (up 2.3 percent) education and health services (up 1.7 percent) continued to grow, while jobs in retail, wholesale trade, government, financial activities and trade, transportation and utilities continued to fall.