Brookings Report Shows Pittsburgh Has Slowed

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By Randi Petrello

Pittsburgh has enjoyed a nice comeback in its post-Steel City renaissance, but the latest data shows the western Pennsylvania city has hit a slight economic speed bump.

The city ranked No. 66 overall on the Brookings Institution’s Metro Monitor report for the third quarter of 2012, down from No. 41 during the second quarter.

The report ranked the 100 largest metro areas based on their economic performance using factors such as employment rates, unemployment, gross metropolitan product and housing prices.

Employment in Pittsburgh increased 4.3 percent, earning the city a ranking of No. 25. The city was No. 84 for unemployment, No. 32 for output and No. 65 for housing prices.

New Orleans performed the best, according to the report. The city was ranked No. 1 overall for the quarter, and was tops for employment and output. New Orleans was No. 87 for its unemployment rate, however. San Jose, Calif., was ranked No. 2, followed by Phoenix, Portland, and Boise, Idaho.

Nationally, the report found that the economic recovery is headed in the right direction, just at a slow pace. From July to September, employment growth was steady, but slowed compared to the first quarter of 2012. Gross metro product grew in all 100 metros; unemployment fell in 65 cities; and home prices increased in most areas after two consecutive quarters of losses, according to the Brookings Institution.

The report said that progress varied from region to region, however. Recovery was strong in areas such as Texas, western Florida and parts of California, as well as in manufacturing towns like Detroit, Grand Rapids, Mich., and Toledo, Ohio. The recovery has been slow in the Northeast, however, where most metro areas had somewhat minor recessions compared to “faster-recovering markets.”

The Southwest was a bit uneven. After Phoenix (No. 3), came El Paso at No. 24, Tucson, Ariz., at No. 59, Las Vegas at No. 62 and Albuquerque at No. 84. Tucson was among the worst for employment, with a ranking of No. 96. The city was 27th for unemployment, 62nd for output and 30th for housing prices.


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