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News Release Information

Friday, May 01, 2020


Technical information:
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Pittsburgh Area Employment – March 2020

Local Rate of Employment Growth Slower than the National Average

Total nonfarm employment for the Pittsburgh, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area stood at 1,185,000 in March 2020, up 3,000, or 0.3 percent, over the year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. During the same period, the national job count increased 1.0 percent. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the Pittsburgh area has had consecutive over-the-year employment increases since January 2017. (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 the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, professional and business services had the largest employment gain from March 2019 to March 2020, adding 3,300 jobs. The local 1.8-percent rate of increase compared to the 1.5-percent national increase for this industry. (See chart 2.)

Three other local supersectors had job gains of at least 1,000 since last March: financial activities (+2,800), construction (+2,400), and government (+1,800), respectively, since last March. The local rates of job gains in all three sectors were above their respective national rates.

Four supersectors—trade, transportation, and utilities (-3,600); education and health services (-2,200); other services (-1,600); and mining and logging (-1,000)—lost at least 1,000 jobs from March 2019 to March 2020. At the national level, three of these supersectors gained jobs over the year, while mining and logging also declined.

Metropolitan area employment data for April 2020 are scheduled to be released on Friday, May 22, 2020, at 10:00 a.m. (ET).

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 down to the supersector level 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 delineations issued 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 Industry employment data for states and metropolitan areas from the Current Employment Statistics program are also available in the above mentioned news releases and from the Internet 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
2020 (p)
Mar 2019 to
Mar 2020 (p)

United States

Total nonfarm

149,359 150,153 151,055 150,804 1,445 1.0

Mining and logging

731 701 700 697 -34 -4.7


7,170 7,240 7,271 7,331 161 2.2


12,774 12,766 12,796 12,783 9 0.1

Trade, transportation, and utilities

27,358 27,734 27,479 27,460 102 0.4


2,838 2,857 2,881 2,885 47 1.7

Financial activities

8,658 8,762 8,804 8,803 145 1.7

Professional and business services

20,908 21,139 21,250 21,229 321 1.5

Education and health services

24,113 24,403 24,716 24,645 532 2.2

Leisure and hospitality

16,090 16,092 16,245 15,988 -102 -0.6

Other services

5,833 5,862 5,890 5,882 49 0.8


22,886 22,597 23,023 23,101 215 0.9

Pittsburgh, Pa. Metropolitan Statistical Area

Total Nonfarm

1,182.0 1,176.3 1,182.8 1,185.0 3.0 0.3

Mining and logging

12.1 11.3 11.2 11.1 -1.0 -8.3


57.4 58.4 58.9 59.8 2.4 4.2


87.4 87.0 86.5 87.5 0.1 0.1

Trade, transportation, and utilities

205.9 205.0 202.4 202.3 -3.6 -1.7


19.2 19.3 19.3 19.4 0.2 1.0

Financial activities

75.5 76.6 77.5 78.3 2.8 3.7

Professional and business Services

180.0 182.4 182.8 183.3 3.3 1.8

Education and health Services

262.6 256.3 260.7 260.4 -2.2 -0.8

Leisure and hospitality

115.9 118.2 117.7 116.7 0.8 0.7

Other services

49.1 48.4 47.8 47.5 -1.6 -3.3


116.9 113.4 118.0 118.7 1.8 1.5

(p) Preliminary


Last Modified Date: Friday, May 01, 2020