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Economy & Business

Job Growth Expected for Pittsburgh in 2015, But How Well Will Those Jobs Pay?

Flickr user JulianBleecker
A new report from the Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board predicts that 15 percent of jobs added in 2015 will be in food preparation and service. Pictured: Primanti Brothers.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors has predicted that Pittsburgh will add more than 18,000 jobs in 2015, and according to a new report from the Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board, those jobs are likely to either be high-paying or low-paying.

CEO Stefani Pashman said 43 percent of jobs added will pay median hourly wages of less than $14.00, while 27 percent of jobs added will pay median wages of $30.38 an hour and above.

“There are significant opportunities for jobs in lower-paying occupations as well as significant growth projected in higher-paying (occupations),” Pashman said. “The middle, which represents about 31 percent, is where less growth will occur this year.”

Credit Courtesy Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board
Growth is expected to be concentrated in low-paying and and high-paying jobs, while medium-wage jobs lag behind.

Pashman put a positive spin on the numbers, saying the concentration of wages for jobs that will be added mirror the wages for jobs that exist today.

“This gives opportunities for individuals to enter the labor market without a lot of skills … and have a first-time job, and work their way up with more education to higher (paying) jobs,” Pashman said.

But Pashman said it will be important for the city, county and state government as well as nonprofits and other organizations to support workers so they can gain the education they need to move into higher-paying jobs.

“I think the opportunity here is to really start thinking about people’s careers as a pathway with life-long learning, rather than you get one shot, you get your job, and that’s where you remain,” Pashman said.

The report also found that 75 percent of jobs will be added in just five industry sectors.

“And those are healthcare; professional, scientific and technical services; arts, entertainment and recreation; accommodation and food services and management of companies and enterprises,” Pashman said.

However, the fastest growing sectors will include entertainment and recreation, mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction, and management of companies and enterprises.

In terms of the types of jobs that will be added, Pashman said there is more diversity than in industry sectors.

“Business and financial operations, healthcare jobs … that could be across multiple sectors, office and administrative support, food preparation and personal care services,” Pashman said.