Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Experts Back up What We’ve Been Saying All Year about the Pittsburgh Job Market

Whether you are currently unemployed or fearful you may be soon, Pittsburgh is one of the better places in the country to be living right now. We have certainly seen a decline in opportunities compared to last year but the decline is not as severe as many other areas around United States. Here are some of the recent reports on the Pittsburgh job market:

Harold Miller, Pittsburgh’s Future Blog

Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Pittsburgh Business Times

Channel 4, WTAE

Pittsburgh Tribune Review

Pittsburgh Tribune Review 2

The first quarter of 2009 will continue to show deterioration in Pittsburgh’s job market. We’ll keep on watch to give reports as we see them and report ourselves on what we are seeing directly from Pittsburgh are employers.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Pittsburgh"s Hottest and Weakest Job Categories

It’s mid November and with the national economic news enough to scare even the sanest of us into a catatonic state what is a job seeker to do? Regardless of your current employment status; safely employed, under employed, barely employed or unemployed be grateful if you live in the Pittsburgh region, still considered one of the better job markets in the country.With that said we are unquestioningly seeing a softening in demand in a number of job categories while a few are surprisingly maintaining and even increasing demand. Most positions in healthcare and education are the top in demand. Weakest job categories in Pittsburgh include retail and automotive (not surprisingly), although mechanics and body shop technicians are still in high demand. What is a bit surprising is the current strength of hospitality, banking, customer service and maintenance technicians. Construction (mostly commercial/industrial) worker demand also remains strong factoring in seasonality.What next month or next year will bring is literally anybodies guess. We have read projections as optimistic as a rebound as early as next fall and as pessimistic as late 2010 (again, national figures). We here tend to be optimists. The new administration will at the very least offer new hope to the majority of the country. With new hope comes improved optimism. With improved optimism (and lower gas prices!) dollars will begin flowing again from consumers, even if it starts as just a trickle.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Preparing for Tomorrow’s Workplace In Pittsburgh

Thank you to Karrie Valauri of AARP Foundation WorkSearch for submitting this very timely information for our blog. The Pittsburgh "Hire the Older Worker" Job Fair, part of the national series of job fairs in partnership between The Employment Guide, WiserWorker.com and the AARP Foundation WorkSearch, is coming October 1st at the Mellon Arena.Interested in Changing Careers? Interested in Remaining Marketable in the Workforce?Are you Unemployed or Underemployed?By 2010, one in three workers will be over the age of 50. As the relative proportion of younger workers declines, attracting and retaining experienced and reliable workers will be as important as ensuring that experienced workers are prepared to meet the skills in demand of the 21st century workplace.AARP Foundation is dedicated to creating new opportunities for individuals to re-enter the workforce or to remain in the workforce. To assist individuals with obtaining and maintaining the needed skill sets for employability today and in the future, AARP Foundation has developed WorkSearch Programs.AARP WorkSearch Assessment is an on-line instrument that helps the experienced, mature worker remain in or re-enter the workforce. It identifies work interests, personal characteristics and transferable skills. It offers quick tests to determine if one has the right skills for a job, online training programs to fill skill gaps, and job opportunities by zip code.The WorkSearch Assessment System encompasses over 1200 job specific on-line courses, eighty of which are certified, and 75% of all job titles in the Bureau of Labor Statistics job bank are represented. It is available at no cost to experience job seekers of all ages and income levels.“WorkSearch is an excellent tool to help you to focus in on the type of job you want, to evaluate your skills and to recognize skill gaps,” said to Roberta Davis, Employment Specialist for WorkSearch.New job opportunities, however, often require additional skills, time and money. The right education and training can sometimes be out-of-reach, especially if you have limited financial resources.Through the Foundation’s Training Assistance Program – the AARP Foundation is providing financial support for training to adult workers (40+) who have incomes that are at or below the median income for their community, and who are interested in training to remain in or re-enter the workforce. Because not everyone has the same interests or learns the same way, the AARP Foundation has established a number of different options, including on-line learning, classroom, and employer-based training to help people gain the skills they need to be competitive for today’s jobs.Mature workers are being certified in many disciplines through the on-line certifications, including medical coding and billing, project management and technical writing. Classroom training has encompasses nationally recognized Customer Service certification, Quickbooks, and much more. Special on-line opportunities to obtain teaching certifications and bachelor’s degree in the accounting field are also available.The third program offered locally through WorkSearch is the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). This service provides paid training opportunities for unemployed residents of Allegheny County who are 55 years of age or older, who meet income guidelines and are currently seeking employment. Individuals train at non-profit organizations to obtain the experience and skill sets needed to become more marketable.Past participant, Geraldine McCorkle, is now employed and refers to SCSEP as an “excellent program for seniors to get going and keep going. Thank you.”AARP is committed to assisting the mature workers with making informed choices regarding employment interests and options, and meeting employment goals. It recognizes that what we do today, we may not be interested in doing or physically capable of doing five, ten years from now. Our skill sets may not correspond to the needs of tomorrow’s employers.AARP Foundation also supports a National Employer Team for those employers who are interested in securing and maintaining a mature, skilled workforce.So whether you are an employer interested is retaining a mature workforce, or an individual interested in changing careers, remaining marketable, or re-entering the job market, learn more about how AARP Foundation WorkSearch can help you achieve your goals.Prepare today for tomorrow’s workforce…let AARP Foundation WorkSearch help you. Contact the local AARP Foundation WorkSearch office at 412-271-1580, or visit aarpworksearch.org.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Fall Pittsburgh Diversity Employment and Career Education Expo Coming October 1st

The autumn edition of the Pittsburgh Diversity Employment and Career Education Expo is set for October 1st from 10:00AM to 3:00PM at Mellon Arena. A company list will be posted when we get to about 2 weeks out from the event, but expect 30-40 companies and schools to be in attendance. As part of the National Employ the Older Worker Job Fair Series in conjunction with AARP Foundation WorkSearch, this event will also be held in conjunction with the Allegheny County Department of Veteran’s Affairs and The Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh. All ages are welcome and encouraged to attend. No pre-registration is required and admission is free to all job seekers. We only ask that you come dressed for success and bring plenty of resumes. Parking at the arena, if you drive, costs from $5.95 to $7.95 for all day depending on which lot you use. Of course, Mellon Arena is serviced very well by public transportation, making this event easy to get to. All job seekers who attend will be eligible to win one of 4 $50.00 gas cards to be given away at the top of each hour -11:00AM, 12:00 noon, 1:00PM and 2:00PM. As you come into the job fair (enter gate 10) you will be given a ticket to be used for the drawings. Companies will primarily be looking for hourly, entry level up to mid-level skilled positions in Healthcare, Nursing, Sales, Customer Service, Social Services, Retail, Hospitality, Finance / Banking, the Building Trades and more.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Cranberry Township Retail Project in Jeopardy, over 1,000 New Jobs With It

An ongoing story that has developed over the past three years and well covered by the Pittsburgh Business Times's Tim Schooley and Ben Semmes concerns multiple retail and office projects planned for the Cranberry Twp, PA area near the intersection of I-79 and state route 228.On the planning block for three years, the cornerstone project involves Simon Properties, owner of Ross Park Mall, South Hills Village and Century Three Mall, as well as dozens of other properties around the country. This would be a retail project of over 850,000 square feet similar in design to Pittsburgh’s Waterfront in West Homestead.With a total projected cost of over 85 million dollars, Simon has put together financing of 40 million along with an additional 25 million from state and local sources, leaving a shortfall of 20 million needed to break ground. A large part of the funding would go toward road improvements needed to both Rt. 228 and to the I-79-Rt 228 interchange to handle projected traffic volumes created by the projects.A project of this scope, as accessible as it would be, do to it’s location near I-79, I-76 (PA Turnpike), state Rt. 19 and state Rt. 228, would make it a destination for shoppers from a 50 mile radius and more. The number of good jobs created would be over a thousand not counting the additional support and ancillary jobs. Click on the image for a larger view.It would be more than a shame if this project were to die because this funding gap could not be closed by the unofficial deadline of the end of 2008. Simon Properties has inferred that if no real progress is made by then they will walk away and look elsewhere for investment opportunities.It’s time our state and federal representatives step up and help close this gap. Opportunities like this are extremely rare. The benefits we would get are regional in scope. Our elected leaders have an opportunity here to show the leadership they were elected to provide. Or they can do nothing.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Pittsburgh Area Career Schools Being Hit By Weak Pittsburgh Market

While Pittsburgh’s hourly job market continues to hold up relatively well compared to most others around the country, Pittsburgh area career schools are finding student enrollment struggling to keep up with year ago levels.Not because of a bad local economy. This is because when an area’s job market is doing well, fewer people seek re-training. It is this re-training market that two year schools gain a large percentage of their revenue from.

We saw this phenomenon in Florida and the west coast markets back in 2005 and 2006 when the job markets in those areas were booming from the then white hot housing markets. Pittsburgh was still recovering from the huge loss of US Air jobs and a number of large retail chains that closed.

Now it appears the pendulum has swung the other way. With Monster.com proclaiming Pittsburgh the hottest job market for the 5th month in a row in July based on their Online Jobs Index in year over year activity (“On an annual basis, Pittsburgh is the only metro market now showing greater online job availability compared to a year ago and remains the Index’s top growth market year-over-year due to continued strong demand for healthcare, IT, education, construction and production occupations”) and as we see our help wanted ad volume hold up well to last year, local Pittsburgh area jobs, led by healthcare and education, though not enjoying large increases year over year, are increasing none the less.

For schools in better job markets to maintain growth it is highly recognized they must be willing to make adjustments to their course offerings to offer training in the areas of particular strength in that market. We are beginning to see that in Pittsburgh with new courses being offered in Hospitality Management (for the new casino) and in healthcare fields such as Occupational and Physical Therapy Assistants.

As we have predicted in the past Pittsburgh, though certainly not unaffected by the national economy, is continuing to weather the storm relatively well.
Posted by Pittsburgh Employment Guide (R) at
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Thursday, July 3, 2008

2008 Pittsburgh Diversity Employment and Career Education Expo at Mellon Arena Draws Near, Coming July 23rd

The next big job fair in Pittsburgh will be held July 23rd at Mellon Arena. No pre-registration is required. The doors will be open from 10:30AM to 3:00PM. We expect about 30 companies and schools to be in attendance. This event will be in the West Igloo Club Lounge. Job Seekers will enter through Gate 3 (directly in front of the arena).These include Aldi’s Markets, Community College of Allegheny County, CVS CareMark Pharmacies, Giant Eagle, Leeds, Mainstay Life Services, Sheet Metal Workers, Transitional Services, Waddle and Reed Financial Services, Keystone Community Mental Health Services, Kaplan Career Institute, All-State Truck Driving School, Venturi Staffing Services, SMG Mellon Arena, Aramark, Advance Auto Parts, Army National Guard, Allegheny Correctional Health Services and many more.Access is easy by either public transportation or parking in one of the Arena lots (parking will range from $5.95 to $7.00 depending on which lot is used). It is strongly suggested you bring plenty of résumés. Proper attire is required (remember, you are trying to make a good first impression!). Admission is FREE for all job seekers and there is no pre-registration required. Just come on in, meet with company or school representatives, smile, shake hands, ask questions and make a good impression!This Diversity Job Fair is in partnership with the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh’s CW Television, The Allegheny County Department of Veteran Affairs and AARP Work Search. All companies in attendance are proactively pursuing a diverse workforce. Our partner organizations will be on hand to help you with the employment services they offer.
Posted by Pittsburgh Employment Guide (R) at
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Friday, May 30, 2008

Hourly Jobs Pace Job Growth in Country’s Hottest Job Market – Pittsburgh

Although we have experienced a seasonal decline in help wanted demand over the past couple of weeks (Memorial Day though the end of June tends to be one of the slowest periods of the year for companies recruiting workers) our metro area continues to be one of the sunniest places to be when it comes to seeking employment. While documented job growth for the Pittsburgh Region is up almost 9,000 jobs from April 2007, we continue to see the opportunities being presented by then need for replacement workers. One of the hottest categories for both new jobs and turnover replacement is in the hospitality industry (hotels and restaurants).Fortunately the strength is fairly broad based. According the Monster Online Employment Index for April; “On an annual basis, seven of the 28 monitored markets are showing more online job opportunities than a year ago, with Pittsburgh again ranking as the Index’s top growth market year-over-year, a position it has held for three consecutive months”.Nursing and Allied Healthcare continue to add jobs month by month and locally the demand for drivers has not abated. In what is one of the devastated industries around the country, fanacial services are regaining strength here, including with the announcement just today of an additional 135 jobs to be added by BONY/Mellon for their Treasury Services division.Pittsburgh continues to weather the economic slowdown better than most predicted just 6 months ago.

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Employment Guide® Re-launches HealthCareerWeb.com

The Employment Guide® (http://www.employmentguide.com/) has announced the re-launch of its health care Web site, HealthCareerWeb (www.HealthCareerWeb.com).
Redesigned and re-engineered to make searching for health care jobs fast and easy, the new HealthCareerWeb is the first recruitment destination designed exclusively for the health care industry to offer social networking.

"HealthCareerWeb offers more than the opportunity for recruiters to attract job seekers; it's the first free recruitment social networking Web site designed exclusively for its members to seek and share information pertaining to the health care industry," said Denise Tanner, business development manager of HealthCareerWeb.

The MedCom area of the site is a medical community where visitors can connect with one another to gain knowledge about the industry. HealthCareerWeb Forums offer an informal place where job seekers can post questions and articles about careers in health care. Another section includes medical videos that give an insider's look at what it's like to work in various medical professions. The site also includes a calendar of medical events, which can be sorted by state.

Jeff Littlejohn, Vice President/General Manager of The Employment Guide, commented, "Our newest product is specifically designed to meet the needs of both job seekers and recruiters in the growing healthcare industry. We have incorporated the benefits of a social networking environment to further enhance the user experience while increasing awareness among health care professionals about professional communities and events." For more information, contact Employment Guide's Pittsburgh office at 412-257-7801.

About HealthCareerWeb.com
HealthCareerWeb, a division of The Employment Guide, offers a powerful platform for advertising niche jobs in the health care industry. This targeted site offers job seekers more than just job opportunities. Free member resources include resume posting, social networking, localized event listings, health care forum, and an industry-specific video center.
The Employment Guide also hosts
http://www.employmentguide.com/, transportation-specific CareersinGear.com Magazine and http://www.careersingear.com/ and vertical search aggregator, http://www.jobalot.com/

About Dominion Enterprises
Dominion Enterprises, Norfolk, Va., is a leading marketing services company serving employment, automotive, real estate, marine,recreation and industrial markets. The company has more than 500 magazine titles, over 40 market-leading Web sites, and operates a variety of Web and technology businesses. The company has annualized revenue of more than $946 million and has more than 6,000 employees nationwide. For more information, visit

Monday, April 14, 2008

How is The Pittsburgh Job Market Faring Now?

As we enter mid-April having been witness to all the economic carnage across the country every day in our living rooms courtesy of the news media, how is the job market here in Pittsburgh faring?As a media that includes weekly print, one of the largest job boards on the Internet and Comcast Video on Demand Jobs across southwestern Pennsylvania we continue to see strong demand across most hourly job categories that is higher than what we saw a year ago.In March the Monster Employment Index, which measures the level of online recruitment activity in select markets around the country, named Pittsburgh one of the 4 hottest metros in the country for online ad volume.According to Harold Miller, President of Future Strategies, LLC, a consulting firm specializing in analysis, strategy, and communication and a contributing columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-gazette on economic matters, the reason for this strength is not job GROWTH, but the demand for replacement workers. With Pittsburgh being one of the oldest markets in the country, as measured by median age of the population, the number of residents entering retirement years is beginning to exceed the number of younger workers entering the labor force. This is creating a higher number of opportunities for employment across most categories. The most in-demand workers continue to be anything in the healthcare field.Another helpful influence to remaining strong in employment opportunity is the local housing market. While many areas of the country experienced double digit growth in home values due in part to speculators and low interest rates, the Pittsburgh housing market saw only gradual, sustainable growth of a few percentage points per year. Because of this, home values never reached levels beyond reality and so are projected to continue slow sustainable growth in the future. These reflections on our local economy do not mean we will not and have not felt the effects of the

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Pittsburgh Area Manpower Survey Gives Pittsburgh’s Job Market an “A”

35% of Pittsburgh area employers plan to expand payrolls in the 2nd quarter, according to the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey released today. Only 5% plan to reduce payrolls, according to Manpower spokesperson Kelly Scott.

“Compared with the first quarter of 2008 when 20% of companies interviewed intended to add employees, and 15% planned to reduce staff levels, area hiring levels appear to be stronger,” said Scott. “Employers are more optimistic about hiring activity as compared to one year ago, when 29% of companies surveyed planned to increase staff levels and 9% expected to cut payrolls.”

For the coming quarter, job prospects appear best in Construction, Durable Goods Manufacturing, Finance/Insurance/Real Estate and Services. Employers in Transportation/ Public Utilities and Wholesale/Retail Trade voice mixed hiring intentions. Hiring in Non-Durable Goods Manufacturing, Education and Public Administration is expected to remain unchanged.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Will The Pittsburgh Region’s Median Age Help Mitigate This Years Recession?

With Pittsburgh’s job growth anemic (900 jobs added December ’06 to December ’07) and little evidence the pace will pick up soon, what is keeping Pittsburgh’s job market one of the hotter markets in the country? Our definition of “hotter” is the demand local companies have for new qualified employees (replacement workers as well as newly created jobs) compared to what we are seeing in other markets around the country.

The answer lies in the median age of our population, ranked as number 1 or 2 in the country (Allegheny County median age as of 2000 according to the Census Bureau is 39.6 years compared with a national average of 35.3). We are in a situation, even with residents working longer into retirement years, where enough of our population is leaving the job market that it is creating vacancies, or opportunities, for those entering the job market.

So far in 2008 we are seeing job market demand in the hourly arena as good as it has been in the past 6 years. Coupled with a housing market that never boomed with many other parts of the country and therefore is predicted to continue slow growth (2007 home sales were up 8% in the Pittsburgh region) and a commercial construction industry entering a multi year period of high demand we have an opportunity to whether the latest storm as well as any metro in the country.

This isn’t to say there will be no pain. Our economy and many jobs in it, of course, are dependent on demand from outside our region. However the demographics that currently exist here will help keep demand for replacement workers high and possibly at a higher rate than job losses created by the recession nationally.

This could be a harbinger of what the national job market looks like as well. Baby boomers are just now starting to hit retirement age, and as the number of retirees increases, the demand for replacement workers will grow with it.

According to an article in the February 4th edition of Workforce Magazine by Gina Ruiz “Recruiters See Strong Hiring Ahead Despite Recession Talk”. The article goes on the quote Human Resource Managers as saying the outlook for hiring demand remains strong. Staffing firms, always the leading indicator of a coming rise in unemployment rates, have remained flat across the country over the past year maintaining strong numbers from 2006.

"We’re not getting a sense that there is an impending jolt in staffing employment," says Steve Berchem, vice president of the American Staffing Association in Washington. The telltale signs of an impending recession are not there, he notes. "We’re living in a very different world," says Francis Luisi, principal at Charleston Partners, an HR executive recruiting firm in Rumson, New Jersey. Factors such as employers with global vision and the millions of baby boomers reaching retirement age could make the traditional recession-related hiring slump less severe than in past cycles, he explains. "It is simply too early to speculate on what will happen," Luisi says.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Pittsburgh’s Upcoming Official Diversity Job Fairs Just Got More Diverse

The Employment Guide®, Pittsburgh Edition has added two more partnerships to its 2008 series of job fairs to be held at the Mellon Arena. Along with the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, who is entering into the fourth year of a partnership begun in 2005, The Employment Guide will also partner with the AARP Foundation and the Allegheny County Dept. of Veteran’s Affairs.This will add tremendously to the value of the job fairs to both Pittsburgh area employers and Pittsburgh area job seekers. Area employers will have access to a more diverse group of job seekers encouraged to attend by these respective organizations and job seekers will find area employers who openly value the benefit and organizational strength provided by a more diverse workforce.The first of these events will be held on Tuesday, April 1st from 10:30 until 3:00PM. We expect 30 to 40 local employers to be on hand. These job fairs are targeted to the hourly, entry level to mid-level skilled positions like Customer Service, Banking/Finance, Retail, Hospitality, Sales, Healthcare and Allied Healthcare, Social Services, the Building Trades and more.We will update more on these events as we draw closer.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Monster Employment Index Names Pittsburgh One of Top Four Local Markets for Online Job Growth in 2007

Pittsburgh, along with Seattle, St. Louis and Houston were the Monster Local Job Index’s highest growth markets for 2007 in online job postings. Although down from the hot November level, December’s reading was still up 25 points from December of 2006."Approximately half of the Index’s decline in December 2007 from November can be attributed to seasonality as employers naturally scale back their hiring activities during the final month of the year,” said Steve Pogorzelski, Executive Vice President, Global Sales and Customer Development at Monster Worldwide. “The Index has consistently shown a seasonal slowdown every December since its inception, which is usually followed by a sizable rebound in the months that immediately follow.For a complete industry by industry run down for Pittsburgh, click here.

Click on the chart to enlarge:

Friday, January 11, 2008

After a Decade of Bad News Regarding Pittsburgh Area Manufacturing Jobs, Medrad, Inc. Offers Up 500 New Jobs over the Next Five Years

At the ribbon cutting ceremony for Medrad’s new manufacturing facility located on the former site of a U.S. Steel sintering plant in Victory Road Business Park, a state Keystone Opportunity Zone, which grants job-creating companies lower business taxes, located in Clinton Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania, Governor Ed Rendell Said “Medrad will create at least 500 jobs at its new $44.7 million, 120,000-square-foot plant, The plant's 20-acre site is in the Victory Road Business Park which will produce disposable syringes and specialty tubing used in medical imaging procedures. This is an exciting day and an important win for the commonwealth. The company conducted a worldwide search for a location for this plant and the 500 skilled manufacturing jobs it will generate. By choosing Pennsylvania, MEDRAD is sending an important message about the strength of our economy and the quality of our workforce”.

In June 2006, Governor Rendell announced a $4.4 million state investment package to help MEDRAD build its new disposables plant on the former 20-acre U.S. Steel site in the Victory Road Business Park in Clinton Township.

Medrad President and CEO John Friel said “The Saxonburg facility went from groundbreaking to start-up in just 10 months and is critical to meeting the demand for imaging procedures that enable earlier, more accurate, diagnosis and improved treatment. It provides us with needed additional plant capacity in the short term and its phased growth design gives us the capacity to add production lines in the future.

Victory Road Business Park is also home to an Aldi Foods distribution center, R.A.M. Transit Lines, an over the road trucking firm and Castcon Stone, a wholly woman owned precast concrete manufacturer.

MEDRAD is an affiliate of
Bayer AG.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Pittsburgh’s November Jobless Rate Down to 4.2%

According to the Pennsylvania State Department of Labor and Industry the 7 county Pittsburgh Metro Area created a seasonally adjusted 1,100 new jobs in November. However, over 5,000 fewer people were looking for them, as the unemployment rate dropped from 4.6% to 4.2% which was down from 4.7% one year ago. Over the past year the Pittsburgh Metro job count has increased by 3,000 which translates into a .25% (that’s a ¼ of a point) increase year over year.

Strength in the Pittsburgh area came from the service sector including retail, education and health services, although hospitality saw another overall decrease. The drop in the number of people looking for employment was unexplained in the latest report. Historically it has meant fewer people thought a job search would pay off and partially due to a continued outflow of people living in the metro.

Out of the seven counties included in these figures, Allegheny and Butler counties each came in with the best individual rates seasonally adjusted at 3.9% for Butler and 4.0% for Allegheny. Other individual rates include Fayette County at 5.4% (down a full 1.1% from a year ago), Armstrong County at 4.4% (down from 5.4% 1 year ago), Beaver County at 4.4% with Washington and Westmorland Counties both coming in at 4.3%.

With housing prices remaining relatively stable in our area along with billions of dollars in new construction projects slated for 2008 and beyond, this upcoming year should still be one of continued overall job growth although it remains to be seen whether the pace of growth can pick up from an anemic ¼% over this past year.