Harold Miller, a regional economic development maven, writes a monthly column for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. His latest, insightful piece considers local private-sector employment and discovers, widespread perception to the contrary, that manufacturing is still doing very well in the Pittsburgh area:
Although the region lost a lot of manufacturing jobs through the recent recession, almost every region in the country did, too. But total earnings from manufacturing jobs in southwestern Pennsylvania actually increased by more than 11 percent between 2001 and 2004, while manufacturing income went down in Austin, Texas, Boston, Portland, Ore., and Silicon Valley. That suggests that what we lost were primarily lower-paying, lower-skilled jobs, and that we gained some higher-paying, higher-skilled jobs.
The region needs a competitive business climate to retain and foster those high-wage manufacturing jobs, especially in high-tech manufacturing, he writes. Couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
Harold expands on those themes in his weblog, Pittsburgh’s Future. Lots of good stuff on regional economics and competitiveness there.