Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pittsburgh Economy Percolating, but Not Hot, Report Says Economists: Climate, Population Are Factors

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pittsburgh Economy Percolating, but Not Hot, Report Says Economists: Climate, Population Are Factors

Article excerpt

The Pittsburgh region's economy will continue to grow slightly above the national average over the next six years, but that growth puts it 263rd among metropolitan areas across the country, according to a study to be released today by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Two economists who analyzed the growth figures say those projections are not unexpected and the Pittsburgh region likely will never become one of the fastest-growing regions because of factors such as climate and the lack of population growth. The key is for the Pittsburgh area to continue to take advantage of positive factors such as low energy costs and a high quality of life, they said.

The study, which was prepared for the mayors' conference by IHS Global Insights Inc. of Lexington, Mass., ranks the Pittsburgh region's economy 23rd out of 381 areas in annual Gross Metro Product. That's just behind areas such as St. Louis; Charlotte, N.C.; Portland, Ore.; Baltimore and Denver and just ahead of Indianapolis; Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla; Cleveland; Cincinnati; Kansas City, Mo.; Columbus, Ohio; and Orlando, Fla.

But the study also shows the region growing at an average of 4 percent a year in Gross Metro Product through 2021. That ranks the region No. 263, well behind leader Provo, Utah, which is expected to grow at 6.7 percent annually.

"Pittsburgh's not cruising along like the most thriving areas of the country, but you're doing pretty well," said Mark Price, labor economist with the Keystone Research Center in Harrisburg.

"You're going to grow a little better than the national average, so that's not bad. Certainly you'd like to be the hottest place in the country, but there's not a big distance between the growth rate there and in Provo."

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said he's "very pleased" with the modest growth rate, especially when it is combined with unemployment that is expected to drop from 5.1 percent last year to 4.9 percent in 2017.

"I think a good, steady growth is what we want to see," he said.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto couldn't be reached for comment.

Gus Faucher, senior economist with PNC Bank, said the region's reliance on educational and medical institutions helped it stay strong through the recession, but that lack of economic diversity and population growth is keeping the region from thriving as the national economy improves. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.