Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Pittsburgh’s Hidden Economic Boom

Doubt the numbers and disaggregate the data at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Ironic demographics.

Postscript: Pittsburgh poses an interesting conundrum. Sluggish job creation numbers and demographic decline have gone hand-in-hand with a dramatically rising educational attainment rate and increasing per capita income. The simple answer would be that less people are slicing up the same total income pie. There's some truth to such warranted skepticism about the good news data. However, other dying cities don't look nearly as robust. Pittsburgh is quite the outlier from its Rust Belt cohort. Assume employment and workforce stays flat for a decade. For every manufacturing job lost, the region gains a job requiring a college degree. In Pittsburgh's case, the job created is likely associated with the higher education industry, which is a cluster on par with Boston. Local leadership would be downright depressed about the lack of quantitative gains. Meanwhile, the qualitative transformation is nothing short of astounding. Try selling that to your constituency. Pittsburgh remains Shittsburgh.

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