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News Release Information

Wednesday, November 03, 2021


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Pittsburgh Area Employment – September 2021

Local rate of employment growth up 2.6 percent over the year

Total nonfarm employment for the Pittsburgh, PA, metropolitan area increased by 29,000 over the year in September, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Alexandra Hall Bovee noted that the local rate of job growth, 2.6 percent, compared to the 4.0-percent national increase. (See chart 1 and table 1; the Technical Note at the end of this release contains metropolitan area definitions. All data in this release are not seasonally adjusted; accordingly, over-the-year analysis is used throughout.)

Industry employment

In Pittsburgh, PA, leisure and hospitality had the largest gain (+13,000) among local private-industry supersectors. (See chart 2.) Within this supersector, accommodation and food services accounted for an increase of 7,400 jobs. The 14.6-percent growth in the metropolitan area’s leisure and hospitality supersector was similar to the increase on a national level.

Within the professional and business services supersector, the professional, scientific, and technical services sector gained 4,700 jobs.

Within the education and health services supersector, employment in the health care and social assistance sector increased by 1,200.

The Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment release for October 2021 is scheduled to be released on December 2, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. (ET).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Impact on September 2021 Establishment Survey Data

BLS has continued to review all estimation and methodological procedures for the establishment survey, which included the review of data, estimation processes, the application of the birth-death model, and seasonal adjustment. Business births and deaths cannot be adequately captured by the establishment survey as they occur. Therefore, the Current Employment Statistics (CES) program uses a model to account for the relatively stable net employment change generated by business births and deaths. Due to the impact of COVID-19, the relationship between business births and deaths is no longer stable. Typically, reports with zero employment are not included in estimation. For the August final and September preliminary estimates, CES included a portion of these reports in the estimates and made modifications to the birth-death model. In addition for both months, the establishment survey included a portion of the reports that returned to reporting positive employment from reporting zero employment. For more information, see

In the establishment survey, workers who are paid by their employer for all or any part of the pay period including the 12th of the month are counted as employed, even if they were not actually at their jobs. Workers who are temporarily or permanently absent from their jobs and are not being paid are not counted as employed, even if they are continuing to receive benefits. The length of the reference period does vary across the respondents in the establishment survey; one-third of businesses have a weekly pay period, slightly over 40 percent a bi-weekly, about 20 percent semi-monthly, and a small amount monthly.

Technical Note

This release presents nonfarm payroll employment estimates from the Current Employment Statistics (CES) program. The CES survey is a Federal-State cooperative endeavor between State employment security agencies and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Definitions. Employment data refer to persons on establishment payrolls who receive pay for any part of the pay period which includes the 12th of the month. Persons are counted at their place of work rather than at their place of residence; those appearing on more than one payroll are counted on each payroll. Industries are classified on the basis of their principal activity in accordance with the 2017 version of the North American Industry Classification System.

Method of estimation. CES State and Area employment data are produced using several estimation procedures. Where possible these data are produced using a "weighted link relative" estimation technique in which a ratio of current-month weighted employment to that of the previous-month weighted employment is computed from a sample of establishments reporting for both months. The estimates of employment for the current month are then obtained by multiplying these ratios by the previous month's employment estimates. The weighted link relative technique is utilized for data series where the sample size meets certain statistical criteria.

For some employment series, the sample of establishments is very small or highly variable. In these cases, a model-based approach is used in estimation. These models use the direct sample estimates (described above), combined with forecasts of historical (benchmarked) data to decrease volatility in estimation. Two different models (Fay-Herriot Model and Small Domain Model) are used depending on the industry level being estimated. For more detailed information about each model, refer to the BLS Handbook of Methods.

Annual revisions. Employment estimates are adjusted annually to a complete count of jobs, called benchmarks, derived principally from tax reports which are submitted by employers who are covered under state unemployment insurance (UI) laws. The benchmark information is used to adjust the monthly estimates between the new benchmark and the preceding one and also to establish the level of employment for the new benchmark month. Thus, the benchmarking process establishes the level of employment, and the sample is used to measure the month-to-month changes in the level for the subsequent months.

Reliability of the estimates. The estimates presented in this release are based on sample surveys, administrative data, and modeling and, thus, are subject to sampling and other types of errors. Sampling error is a measure of sampling variability—that is, variation that occurs by chance because a sample rather than the entire population is surveyed. Survey data are also subject to nonsampling errors, such as those which can be introduced into the data collection and processing operations. Estimates not directly derived from sample surveys are subject to additional errors resulting from the special estimation processes used. The sums of individual items may not always equal the totals shown in the same tables because of rounding.

Employment estimates. Measures of sampling error for the total nonfarm employment series are available for metropolitan areas and metropolitan divisions at Measures of sampling error for more detailed series at the area and division level are available upon request. Measures of sampling error for states at the supersector level and for the private service-providing, goods-producing, total private and total nonfarm levels are available on the BLS website at Information on recent benchmark revisions is available online at

Area definitions. The substate area data published in this release reflect the standards and definitions established by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget on April 10, 2018. A detailed list of the geographic definitions is available at

The Pittsburgh, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington, and Westmoreland Counties in Pennsylvania.

Additional information

More complete information on the technical procedures used to develop these estimates and additional data appear in Employment and Earnings, which is available online at Detailed industry employment data for metropolitan areas from the CES program are available from the State and Area Employment databases at

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service: (800) 877-8339.

Table 1. Employees on nonfarm payrolls by industry supersector, United States and the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area, not seasonally adjusted (in thousands)
Area Back
Sep 2020 to
Sep 2021

United States

Total nonfarm

141,946 146,536 (p)147,028 (p)147,682 (p)5,736 (p)4.0

Mining and logging

597 642 (p)646 (p)649 (p)52 (p)8.7


7,419 7,640 (p)7,651 (p)7,628 (p)209 (p)2.8


12,138 12,460 (p)12,484 (p)12,462 (p)324 (p)2.7

Trade, transportation, and utilities

26,512 27,338 (p)27,328 (p)27,422 (p)910 (p)3.4


2,652 2,761 (p)2,781 (p)2,801 (p)149 (p)5.6

Financial activities

8,710 8,897 (p)8,900 (p)8,847 (p)137 (p)1.6

Professional and business services

20,115 21,067 (p)21,193 (p)21,203 (p)1,088 (p)5.4

Education and health services

23,086 23,319 (p)23,362 (p)23,588 (p)502 (p)2.2

Leisure and hospitality

13,446 15,864 (p)15,827 (p)15,414 (p)1,968 (p)14.6

Other services

5,426 5,786 (p)5,786 (p)5,721 (p)295 (p)5.4


21,845 20,762 (p)21,070 (p)21,947 (p)102 (p)0.5

Pittsburgh, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area

Total Nonfarm

1,098.4 1,126.7 1,124.0 (p)1,127.4 (p)29.0 (p)2.6

Mining and logging

8.2 7.6 7.6 (p)7.5 (p)-0.7 (p)-8.5


60.5 66.8 67.7 (p)65.7 (p)5.2 (p)8.6


78.9 80.0 80.4 (p)79.9 (p)1.0 (p)1.3

Trade, transportation, and utilities

195.2 194.9 194.0 (p)195.5 (p)0.3 (p)0.2


17.9 19.1 19.0 (p)19.0 (p)1.1 (p)6.1

Financial activities

75.3 75.4 75.8 (p)74.6 (p)-0.7 (p)-0.9

Professional and business Services

170.9 178.5 177.9 (p)177.1 (p)6.2 (p)3.6

Education and health Services

247.9 245.4 245.9 (p)249.3 (p)1.4 (p)0.6

Leisure and hospitality

89.3 107.9 107.0 (p)102.3 (p)13.0 (p)14.6

Other services

43.0 45.8 45.8 (p)44.9 (p)1.9 (p)4.4


111.3 105.3 102.9 (p)111.6 (p)0.3 (p)0.3

(p) Preliminary

SOURCE: Current Employment Statistics - National - State and Metropolitan Area


Last Modified Date: Wednesday, November 03, 2021