Southwestern Pennsylvanians have concerns about the post-pandemic economy, according to a recent poll conducted across the region.

Pittsburgh Works Together – an alliance of unions and business and civic leaders – commissioned the survey, which was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, a Washington, D.C.-based polling firm. From Feb. 18 to 21, POS spoke with 500 people in 12 counties: Washington, Greene, Fayette, Westmoreland, Allegheny, Beaver, Armstrong, Butler, Clarion, Indiana, Lawrence and Venango.

This was the first in a series of Regional Reaction polls that Pittsburgh Works plans to have.

Jeff Nobers, the organization’s executive director, said in a news release: “People from every one of the counties surveyed expressed the feeling that the region is headed in the wrong direction, and that recovering jobs lost during the COVID-19 pandemic should be the top priority of leaders here.”

The poll, according to the alliance, has a 4.38% margin of error.

POS reported that 51% of those surveyed said the region was moving in the wrong direction, as opposed to 35% who believed it was going forward. (The remaining 14% expressed no opinion.)

That was the polar opposite from what Pittsburgh Works research uncovered a year ago, when 56% maintained the region was on the right track and 31% said heading down the wrong.

A majority or plurality of every group surveyed this time – unions, college degree holders, non-degree holders – believed the region was moving in a negative direction.

Poll participants cited the economy (28%) and public health (27%) as the most important issues facing voters, followed by concerns about state and local government (14%). A mere 9% considered health to be the top issue a year ago.

Other issues – including energy, environment, crime, taxes, transportation and education – registered single digits percentage-wise.

Business Writer

Rick Shrum joined the Observer-Reporter as a reporter in 2012, after serving as a section editor, sports reporter and copy editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rick has won eight individual writing awards, including two Golden Quills.

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