Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Pittsburgh based PNC Chief Economist Stewart Hoffman says the economy in the Pittsburgh region, “will turn the corner from severe recession to economic recovery” in 2010. He notes that although the region did suffer the “slings and arrows” of the national downturn it was not as bad in Southwestern PA as it was nationwide. He predicts that by the end of the year the region will have shed about 25,000 jobs. As Hoffman looks forward to 2010, he says job growth will return to the region by the spring and to the nation as a whole some time in the first half of 2010. Unemployment will be a bit “sticky” according to Hoffman, ending the year in Pittsburgh around 8% and 9.5% nationally. He says he does not fear a “jobless recovery” but he knows the jobs will not bounce back fast enough to please some in Washington. Hoffman says the Pittsburgh housing market has seen its trough and homes will begin to pick up value in 2010. He notes that several markets in the South and the Midwest will continue to see values decline. He says, “Pittsburgh has a good mix of buyers and sellers where it will still be a buyers market in other parts of the country.” Hoffman says he is not worried about inflation in 2010 and he feels household incomes in the region will rise faster than the rate of inflation in the region. He predicts an inflation rate around 2.5% and an increase in household incomes between 3% and 4%. Among the issues that Hoffman says could kill the recovery; Rising oil prices, a lack of job creation in the private sector and poor decisions by state and local governments.