Region economy gets high rating
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Pittsburgh placed in the top 20 of a new ranking of the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas based on economic performance during the recovery.
The strong rating comes as a result of the Pittsburgh metropolitan area being fairly stable.
While that is a good thing in some ways, it is not so good in others, said Howard Wial, one of the co-authors of a report about the economies of 100 metropolitan areas by the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.
He said the heavy presence of health care and education in the region has given Pittsburgh more economic stability than other regions. "Pittsburgh's not prone to booms and busts, but the flip side is you don't have the engines for a rapid recovery either," he said.
The study tracked the economic recovery of the country's 100 largest metropolitan areas through the third quarter of 2010.
Pittsburgh did very well for real estate, with only a 3.4 percent drop in housing prices since the peak in 2009. That was the lowest drop of all 100 metropolitan areas; the average for the 100 other metropolitan areas was a 22.6 percent drop in housing prices.
This region also performed well for the number of foreclosures, with just 1.36 properties per thousand held by lenders. The average for all of the metropolitan areas was 5.58 properties held by the banks for every thousand. Pittsburgh ranked seventh with the least number of foreclosures.
In another measure of the region's economic strength, the Brookings Institution found it did not lose as many jobs (down 2.7 percent) from its peak employment in 2008 as other metropolitan areas. The average for all 100 metropolitan areas was a loss of 6.2 percent of their jobs.
On the other hand, Pittsburgh lost ground in some categories in the third quarter of 2010. While the average of the 100 metropolitan areas was employment growth of 0.3 percent, the Pittsburgh metropolitan area lost 0.2 percent of its jobs. However, the region's unemployment rate remains below the national average.
The region ranked below average for gross metropolitan product. Productivity here dropped 1.1 percent, much more than the 0.3 percent average drop for other regions.
First Published December 16, 2010 12:00 am