Pittsburgh Weekly Wages Up, But Increase Could Be Short-Lived

Jul 1, 2013

Pittsburghers' average weekly wages are up, but slow job growth this year could make it short-lived.

According to Pittsburgh Today, a regional analytical organization, the average weekly wages in Pittsburgh increased by 3.5 percent in 2012, the second largest increase year-over-year behind Cincinnati, which had a 3.8 percent increase.

The average for the 14-benchmark regions was a 2.6 percent increase. Boston, Indianapolis, Milwaukee and Detroit fell below the average.

Since 2009, the Pittsburgh region has experienced a 10.3 percent total increase in average weekly wages.

Douglas Heuck, director of Pittsburgh Today, said southwestern Pennsylvania’s natural resource industries have had the biggest impact on wage growth.

“We’ve had strength over the last several years in the energy resource sector,” Heuck said. “We’ve also had strong job growth in financial services, and we’ve seen relatively strong growth over several years in what we call the ‘Eds and Meds.’”

In the 22-county Pittsburgh region, Greene County had the highest increase in average weekly wages at 4.5 percent. Allegheny County was close behind at 3.7 percent.

Although the weekly wages have increased, Pittsburgh is still below average when it comes to annual pay, according to Heuck.

The average annual pay in the Pittsburgh region in 2012 was $48,701, a 3.5 percent increase from 2011, but still places the region below the benchmark average of $51,697.

Heuck said Pittsburgh’s below average annual pay is actually a positive.

“The high wage regions are also the regions with the very high cost of living,” Heuck said. “So, the fact that we have a low cost of living and a rising rate of wage really bodes well for our workers.”

Greene County had the highest annual pay in 2012 coming in at $54,362; again, followed by Allegheny County with an average annual pay of $53,000.

Halfway through the year, Heuck said slow job growth could hinder wage increases for 2013.

“We don’t yet know whether that’s a real trend,” Heuck said, “but if we are seeing slower job growth, you might extrapolate that our wage growth would slow as well when those numbers come out.”