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Employment has somewhat rebounded in Pittsburgh, but still falls short of pre-pandemic levels

Sarah Kovash
90.5 WESA

On today’s episode of The Confluence:

Employment in Pittsburgh hasn’t rebounded since the start of the pandemic
(0:00 - 10:04)

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while many of the top 40 labor markets have regained the jobs lost since the beginning of the pandemic, the seven-county Pittsburgh region still has about 60,000 fewer people employed than in March 2020.

“There's been this tremendous shock to the national labor market, to a lot of regions, and most places are sort of inching back,” says Chris Briem, a regional economist with the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Social and Urban Research. “The national labor market has sort of creeped back to the employment levels just before COVID, pretty much. But that's not our story, we are really not sort of inching back the way you would want to see.”

Briem says the reasons for the lack of rebound might be attributed to a number of things, such as the region's aging population turning to retirement or a lack of childcare for working parents.

Allegheny County Elections Divisions still needs poll workers for next Tuesday’s election 
(10:12 - 17:46)

The deadline to applyfor a mail-in or absentee ballot for the May 17 primary election is today at 5 p.m.

Voters across the state will choose their party nominees who, come November, might shape policy across the state or country, with races for a U.S. Senate, 17 U.S. House seats, the governor’s office, as well as the entire Pennsylvania House and half of the state Senate.

But, before we can know who will win the nomination for the general election, we need to have the actual election.

Allegheny County Elections Division Manager David Voye has been working out the logistics of the upcoming election. He anticipates the county will see, in total, more than 125,000 applications submitted by today’s deadline.

Voye says the process of mailing ballots has gone smoothly, however, the county is still lacking enough poll workers to manage voting locations the day of the election.

“[In] a perfect world would have five workers at each location, so you're looking at 6,600 people that open up our polling place on Election Day. Currently, we have a little over 5,800 scheduled,” says Voye. “Now with mail in voting and less people at the polls, we can get by with three or four at a polling location, depending on how many registered voters, but we would like to have the full complement of five.”

Voye says the county is still training new poll workers. The only requirements are that the person be over 18 years of age and a registered voter.

There labor market is improving for those reentering society after incarceration
(18:00 - 22:30)

Today’s red-hot labor market has employers recruiting furiously for workers. 90.5 WESA’s An-Li Herring reportsthere’s evidence that businesses across the country have opened up positions to people whose criminal pasts once might have shut them out of a job.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in Monday to Thursday at 9 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts. 

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