The Women Workers of Pittsburgh

Not surprisingly I caught the headline in the PG looking at some national numbers on the labor force: Women lost more jobs in economic recovery.

What was that “except in Pittsburgh” thing?

Some years ago we looked as comprehensively as we could at the impact of gender in the history of Pittsburgh’s labor force, but that was all completed before the recent recession sank in; it could use updating at some point. What I am slow noticing is something pretty extraordinary. Since William Trent arrived at the point that would become Pittsburgh, the labor force of the region has has a labor force dominated by men. For a long time that was true everywhere, but the disproportion of men in the labor force persisted here long after things changed nationally.  Through recent decades, Pittsburgh had a labor force more dominated by men than just about any other metro area of the continental US.

Until now?

This is what I quickly compile for the breakdown by gender of the employed workforce in the Pittsburgh MSA in recent years and the most recent data does indeed show more women workers than men. This shows the average employment by quarter for the Pittsburgh MSA broken down by gender.

So even if it is a recession impact, which is part of it, I doubt that is the big picture long-term trend we ought to take note of. The quote in the article today points out correctly that women are the majority of state and local workers. The bigger factoid is that for Pittsburgh of late, at least for non-summer months women are the majority of workers period. Even if true for just a single month, it is a shift that was once inconceivable in Pittsburgh.  Wow.

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