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Report: Average Annual Pay Has Increased In Pittsburgh Region

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

Average annual pay increased in the Pittsburgh region from 2013 to 2014, but not as much as in several other cities, including Denver, Cincinnati or Detroit, according to a report released by Pittsburgh Today.

Doug Heuck, director of Pittsburgh Today, an organization which measures progress in areas such as education, sustainability and economy, said local average annual pay rose by 2.7 percent.

“By comparison to other regions, our wage growth is a little bit sub-par, but still, wages are growing at a strong rate, well above the rate of inflation,” Heuck said.

The program evaluates data from 15 benchmark cities across the country.

Annual pay averaged $50,955 in Pittsburgh in 2014, while the average for the 15 cities rose 2.9 percent to $53,096, according to the report. Boston led the way with a 4.1 percent jump in annual pay, while Indianapolis had the smallest increase with 1.4 percent.

He said although the region is slightly behind where he would like it to be, Pittsburgh’s economy is stable and built on gradual growth.

“There’s not a situation where you have too many jobs and not enough workers,” he said. “If you’re in that situation where all the employers are competing for workers, that’s something that would drive the wages up.”

That will change in coming decades when the region’s workforce is expected to get younger, according to Heuck.

“In the next 20 years, we’re going to need to replace those baby boomers who will be retiring,” he said, “but we’re not so much seeing the effects of that now.”

Although pay is below average, Heuck said the cost of living in the region is something else to consider.

“We actually find that Pittsburgh’s wages do better when we consider our cost of living, which is lower than the benchmark average,” he said.

Heuck said the fact that Pittsburgh was not hit as hard by the recession helped the region lead the way from 2009-11, and still helps its growth today.

“We really led the benchmark regions in a lot of economic categories, because we didn’t fall as far,” he said. “So compared to other regions, we had a much smoother path out of the recession. We didn’t dip as low.”