Economy of Pittsburgh: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The skyline of Pittsburgh displaying the tallest buildings.Wikipeder.
The Pittsburgh skyline at dusk

The economy of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is diversified, focused on services, medicine, higher education, tourism, banking, corporate headquarters and high technology. Once the center of the American steel industry, and still known as "The Steel City," today the city of Pittsburgh has no steel mills.

Pittsburgh was recently chosen for the 2009 G-20 summit as its transformation is an example of a twenty first century economy. On September 8, 2009 President Barack Obama stated, "Pittsburgh stands as a bold example of how to create new jobs and industries while transitioning to a 21st century economy."[1]

On the most recent list of best cities for job growth in 2009, created by Tara Weiss a writer for Forbes magazine, Pittsburgh secured its spot because of its strength in the health care and education industries with healthy foundations in technology or robotics and banking industries.[2] The most recent list of all cities places Pittsburgh as the 169th best city for job growth.[3]

Also, Pittsburgh ranked in the top five Most Livable Cities in the 1983, 1985, 1989 and 2007 editions of the "Places Rated Almanac." [4]




Early Foundation

English: A street map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1795, which includes Fort Pitt.Wikipeder.
Early look at Pittsburgh

During the mid 1700s, the economy of the Pittsburgh region was focused on agriculture and trade. After the Revolutionary War, the government placed a tax on whiskey in order to pay off national debt. In 1794, the Whiskey Rebellion occurred in Pittsburgh and was the first challenge to the government.“The fledgling Federal government had decided to levy its first tax against whiskey, but the farmers argued they didn't have cash to pay taxes on bartered goods, and marched in protest. Washington had to send troops to squelch the protest and enforce the tax laws.” [5]

During the 18th century large coal deposits were discovered throughout Pittsburgh. Mt. Washington, originally called "Coal Hill" “most valuable deposit of bituminous coal in the entire United States, was discovered there in 1760”.[6] Along with the natural resources of the area, Pittsburgh was located at the intersection of the Monongahela, Ohio, and Allegheny Rivers, that is, along the major trade routes of the United States. Thus, making Pittsburgh "one of the world's leading industrial powerhouses".

“The first and largest industry emerging in the 1800s was boat building—both flatboats to transport waves of pioneers and goods downriver, and keelboats, which a strong crew could propel upstream as well.” [7] The second biggest industry in the region was glass production. The first glass factory was built in 1795 by James O'Hara and Isaac Craig. [8]

Nineteenth century

Pittsburgh’s wealthiest industrialists during the 1800s all lived in a single neighborhood known as East Liberty. The major list of industrialists include H.J. Heinz, George Westinghouse, Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Mellon, Henry Clay Frick and Philander Knox. All of these men shared similar ideas in the system of capitalism and utilized their skills to net the world’s highest income per capita during the 1800’s in this single neighborhood.[9] Andrew Carnegie was also known as a philanthropist to the region. “In 1889 he wrote "The Gospel of Wealth", in which he asserted that all personal wealth beyond that required to supply the needs of one's family should be regarded as a trust fund to be administered for the benefit of the community”.[10] Subsequently, the Carnegie Library, which is free to the public, opened in Pittsburgh in 1890 and is still open presently.[11] Overall, Carnegie donated over $350 million for the establishment of organizations that benefit the public.[12]

Railroads were developed in the Pittsburgh region during the mid 1800s. The Ohio & Pennsylvania Railroad opened in 1851, which allowed passengers to travel through Allegheny and New Brighton. A year later, in 1852, the Pennsylvania Railroad was completed and offered transportation to and from Philadelphia. In 1856, the Allegheny Valley Railroad was built.[13] [14]

In 1892, the economy of Pittsburgh faced the Homestead Strike between the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers and the Carnegie Steel Company. After the worker's previous wage contract expired in 1892, and a new negotiation was not reached a violent conflict ensued leaving several dead and wounded. Ultimately, The Carnegie Steel company won and had avoided union formation in Pittsburgh.[15]

Twentieth century

The blast furnaces and rolling mills of the Homestead Steel WorksWikipeder.
Pittsburgh Steel mill in Homestead crica 1907

In the 1900s the economy of Pittsburgh was primarily driven by the steel industry and the city had reached a population 321,616.[16] Throughout this period, Pittsburgh would see a spike in population and a slow decline at the end of the centrury. At one point Pittsburgh was the 8th largest city in America. In 1901, The Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel and Tin Workers organized a general strike against the U.S. Steel Corporation subsidiaries, causing the first strike since 1892.[17]

Pittsburgh produced around one third of the national output of steel by the 1920s. During this time period Pittsburgh was home to the world's largest tube and pipe mill, structural steel plant, rail mill, wire manufacturing plant, bridge and construction fabricating plant.[18] "Boat building and metal industries were later the economic base of the region. When coke from coal began to replace charcoal from wood in iron and steel making Pittsburgh grew up as the heart of the industry. A plentiful supply of bituminous coal underlies the Pittsburgh area."[19] Around forty percent of the nation's coal was obtained from within 100 miles of Pittsburgh.[18]

Due to the reforms of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, steel unions gained success in Pittsburgh. The Wagner Act of 1935 gave employees rights to self-organize in labor unions and made it unlawful for employers to prevent or interfer with such unions.[20]

However in the 1970s the steel industry collapsed leaving half of the nation's steelworkers unemployed.[21] "The number of steel workers in the Pittsburgh area dropped from 90,000 in 1980 to 44,000 in just four years".[22]

Transition into the present economy

Within the transitional years between 1970-1990 Pittsburgh SMSA saw shifts in their main employers, which were the manufacturing sector. In 1970, one out of every three jobs was in the manufacturing sector. By 1980 this has slipped to one in four. In 1980 the average production worker in manufacturing was making $360.89 weekly which was almost $70 dollar more than the state and national average. During this time period the largest group of occupational employment was blue collar. This group in 1980 accounted for almost 68 percent of the jobs market. In the 1980’s was expected that a decline of the manufacturing business was going to happen. The excepted trend was that Pittsburgh would follow towards “industrial robots.” Since 1955 Pittsburgh has seen a steady decline in manufacturing employment, In 1955 Pittsburgh has a population of 41.8 percent in the manufactory business. In 1980 that number had slipped to almost 25.3 percent.[23]

Allegheny County is the center for health care and higher education employment. JHigher education and health care were the biggest creators of high wage jobs in the Pittsburgh region between the six years of 1999 and 2005. Education jobs account for almost 80% of high wage jobs in Allegheny County. Pittsburgh is not only home to the health care and education industries for high wage jobs, but Pittsburgh has seen the growth in other sectors as well. Professional services, finance and wholesale trade were among the growing sectors in this area. However, much of this growth was seen outside the borders of Allegheny County. This was detrimental to the county of Allegheny; however the growth in the outer nine counties helped to stabilize the loss of employment. With big events happening in Pittsburgh throughout the late 2000’s, tourism industry has flourished. The industry has created over 11,000 new jobs in the area, some 6,000 of them to be within Allegheny County .[24]

Present situation

 Graph comparing the employment in the Pittsburgh Region to the national average.
"Total nonfarm employment, over-the-year percent change in the United States and the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, March 1999-2009"[25]

The following is a list of the top 10 private employers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[26]

Rank Employer Number of Pittsburgh employees Product(s)
1 University of Pittsburgh Medical Center 47,000 Health care
2 University of Pittsburgh 11,000 Higher education
2 West Penn Allegheny Health System 11,000 Health care
4 Giant Eagle 10,000 Supermarkets
5 PNC Financial Services 8,000 Financial services
6 Bank of New York Mellon Corporation 6,900 Financial services
7 FedEx Corporation 5,000 Transportation
7 Highmark 5,000 Health insurance
9 U.S. Steel 4,900 Steel manufacturing
10 Carnegie Mellon University 4,700 Higher education

Pittsburgh has seen much less affects from the recent economic recession. The city's transition from heavy dependence in the manufacturing industries to an economy based on health services, education, and innovative technologies kept Pittsburgh from the worsts of the recession. Also, the housing industry never saw the over inflation rates other regions are dealing with as housing prices actually raised two percent in the last quarter of 2008 where other cities in the nation saw a much higher decline percentage.[27]

Twenty first century progression

The shifting economy of Pittsburgh has seen changes since the 1990’s; these are primarily in banking, healthcare and technology. However, In December 2004, Pittsburgh was forced into a Act 47 because the finances in the city were down. In January 2003 Pittsburgh’s unemployment rate reached 6.8%, but has seen a major decline in, as in April 2005 the rates were near only 4.8%.[28] Since one in every five jobs in Pittsburgh lies within the health care service, Pittsburgh was able to hold steady during the recent economic downturn.[29][30] During this, the city also began to see growth in other occupations such as the business service and construction. The business service sectors in the 2008 year saw an increase of over 3,000 jobs. During the downturn, Pittsburgh still developed many parts of the city creating over 1,000 construction jobs in the region.[31]

2009 G-20 Pittsburgh Summit

Pittsburgh was chosen to hold the 2009 G-20 summit for multiple reasons. Pittsburgh utilizes its past by building on previous successes in manufacturing, business services, and green energy. "Pittsburgh manufacturers employ almost 100,000 workers and the region is the second-largest market in the United States for metals industry employment."[32] Pittsburgh is also home to some of the worlds largest business and financial services, which supply the greatest amount to the regional economic output. In the past, innovation in energy has been advanced through commercialization of oil, coal, and natural gas. More focus and attention is being given to the innovation in sustainability and efficiency while protecting the environment as Pittsburgh has more than 30 LEED certified buildings.[32]


PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "Occupational Employment and Wages in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, May 2007".

  1. ^ PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "[1]Statement by the President on G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh.The White House: Office of the Press Secretary" by Barack Obama (retrieved on 2009-09-08).
  2. ^ [2] name=Tara Weiss "Ten Cities For Job Growth In 2009" '' January 5, 2009
  3. ^ [3]"All Cities Rankings - 2009 New Geography Best Cities for Job Growth" 'New Geography'
  4. ^ [4], "Information about Pittsburgh".
  5. ^ Pittsburgh: History
  6. ^ Hazo,, Samuel. (1986). The Pittsburgh That Starts with You. p. 15.  
  7. ^ [ Pittsburgh: History
  8. ^ [ Pittsburgh: History
  9. ^ Skrabec, Jr., Quentin (2009). H.J. Heinz: a biography. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc.. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-7864-4178-5.  
  10. ^ Carnegie Corporation of New York: Biography
  11. ^ html "Key Events in Pittsburgh History"
  12. ^ Carnegie Corporation of New York: Biography
  13. ^ "Key Events in Pittsburgh History"
  14. ^
  15. ^ Goldner, Cheri. "The Homestead Strike 1892" Spring, 1997 [5]
  16. ^ "Pittsburgh". Encyclopædia. 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-06.  
  17. ^ Historic Pittsburgh. "Chronology by Decade: 1900 - 1909"
  18. ^ a b Watkins, Thayer."The History of the Economy of Pittsburgh" [6], .
  19. ^ United States History: 1877 to the Present
  20. ^ U.S. Government. "The Wagner Act of 1935" Published in 1935
  21. ^ Woolcock, Stephen. "The International Politics of Trade and Production in the Steel Industry": Chapter 3 in: Pinder, John ed. (Edr) (1982). National industrial strategies and the world economy (An Atlantic Institute for International Affairs research volume) Croom Helm. ISBN 0865980403, 9780865980402 [7].
  22. ^ [8] Pittsburgh: History
  23. ^ Pennsylvania. Office of Employment Security.(1982). Harrisburg : Pennsylvania Dept. of Labor and Industry, Office of Employment Security.
  24. ^ Pittsburgh's Future. "State of the Economy in Pittsburgh"[9], .
  25. ^ ""PITTSBURGH METROPOLITAN AREA JOB COUNT: MARCH 2009"". United States Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Satistics,. Retrieved 13 December 2009.  
  26. ^ 'Allegheny County Department of Economic Development, PRA '[10] April 2009
  27. ^ name= Thomas Olson 'Tribune Review' "Pittsburgh-area economy endures recession better than other markets" [11] June 28, 2009
  28. ^ City , "Pittsburgh: Economy" Allegheny County Department of Economic Development.[12]
  29. ^ Streitfeld, David (2009-01-07). "For Pittsburgh, There’s Life After Steel". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-11-17.  
  30. ^ "MetroMonitor: Tracking Economic Recession and Recovery in America’s 100 Largest Metropolitan Areas". Brookings Institution. 2009-09. Retrieved 2009-11-17.  
  31. ^ [13], "Pittsburgh's Future: Why is the Economy doing Better than the Rest of the Country?".
  32. ^ a b "Three Reasons Why Pittsburgh Is Perfect for The Pittsburgh Summit 2009". Pittsburgh Regional Alliance. Retrieved 13 December 2009.  

External links


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address