The Pittsburgh Myth By The Numbers

Chris Briem over at Null Space did a post on unemployment, which included this tool to look at areas unemployment numbers since 1970. To me they help confirm the fact that the cause of the city’s financial troubles and population loss goes deeper and started sooner than believed. The fact that the Pittsburgh’s peak population number was hit in the early 1960’s and this report help confirm my theory.

If you carefully move along the graph, you get a month by month account of the Metropolitan Statistical Area’s unemployment rate. These are some random sample’s.

Jan 1970 3.2%
June 1971 4.9%
July 1972 5.8%
August 1975 8.3%
November 1976 6.8%
December 1977 7.0%
April 1979 6.1%
January 1980 6.8%
June 1980 7.9%
November 1981 9.5%
July 1982 13.3%
January 1983 17.1% The absolute recorded peak

What I find interesting is that huge amounts of urban population had been lost long before 1983 and the report with numbers from 1980, shows the very shaky ground the city of Pittsburgh was on in 1980. The report’s title talks to the unsustainable position as a “non profit” provider of jobs to people who lived out of town.

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