Mark Twain famously coined the axiom, “there are lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Sadly, the latter applies to the Pittsburgh region’s unemployment data.
When reviewing jobs data, it behooves us all to look at the broader picture.
Case in point: Pittsburgh did not do as badly during the 2007 housing bust because real estate prices in the region didn’t soar during the boom.
Or as Marc Louragand, then-president of the American Real Estate Society and a principal with Saltash Partners LLC in Hartford, Conn., said then, “Pittsburgh doesn’t have a hangover because it wasn’t at the party.”
More importantly, as Nobel-Prize-winning economist and academic stalwart Paul Krugman recently stated, the percentage of long-term unemployed (meaning six months or longer) is at its highest level since the Great Depression. It goes without saying that a new infusion of economic stimulus is in order. Just look at the gross failures of austerity measures in Europe; these are lessons we here at home should learn from.
Nearly four years after the official end of the Great Recession, the party is once again raging while Pittsburgh is home in front of the TV. In the past year, Pittsburgh ranked 32nd of the top 40 metropolitan areas for job growth–and the numbers haven’t improved of late.