Steel City has recaptured national attention for something other than steel

Oct 30, 2015 | Article

Pittsburgh has claimed national attention for a thriving job market, tech scene and other amenities.

There is a town that ranks in the top 10 big-city job markets, sports a thriving tech scene, forecasts to maintain steady growth and boasts a food culture with the best of them. That city may not be what you would expect - it isn't one of the huge markets that tend to jump to mind. It's Pittsburgh, unfairly relegated to the status of Pennsylvania's Other City - the Yin to Philadelphia's Yang. But recent media attention has placed Pittsburgh in the spotlight. Last time it held that status it was still known as an industrial town - hence their football team, the Steelers.

Instead, job seekers and businesses have taken notice of Pittsburgh's positive outlook and apparent benefits. Now, those who travel to the city recommend it as a destination. More importantly, the strong job market and opportunity for growth have more businesses considering the Steel City as a place to open up shop.

Pittsburgh is back in the spotlight - this time, for good.

Pittsburgh popularity: More than just a fad
Is the latest media attention on the Pennsylvania city just a passing interest? More than likely not. This July, a host of media outlets including The New York Times and The Washington Post ran specials on Pittsburgh's charms. But the city's residents are used to being in the mainstream - this isn't the first time it's garnered extra attention, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

"When it first started to really happen, back in the late '90s and early '00s, we started getting a lot of attention, it was really novel," Craig Davis, president and CEO of VisitPittsburgh, told the Post-Gazette. "Now it's getting to the point where there's no surprise anymore. It's like, 'Why wouldn't they feel that way?'"

"Interest in Pittsburgh is about thriving industry and a strong job market."

So why would the interest be lasting this time? Because it isn't about novelty anymore. It's about thriving industry and a strong job market. Today, the economy is "rooted in the city's rapidly growing robotic, artificial intelligence, health technology, advanced manufacturing and software industries," according to Politico. Carnegie Mellon University and Google are both leaders for Pittsburgh's tech prowess.

"It is no surprise to Pittsburghers that the city is a great place to live and work," says Division DirectorKim Leckenby, leader of Pittsburgh's Technologies division. "Pittsburgh has a growing economy, excellent companies in a variety of industries, coupled with world class hospitals and schools as well as affordable housing. This mix creates opportunities to grow as a professional, raise a family and enjoy the amenities of a great city. It is the best time to live in Pittsburgh."

With a falling average age according to Census information and an increasing population, the national attention on Pittsburgh is, if anything, late to the party. These trends have manifested into data and positive outlooks.

Uber moves tech center to Pittsburgh
While some multibillion-dollar businesses opt for cities like San Francisco and San Jose, the massively popular ride-sharing platform took things in a different direction - literally. Uber placed its Advanced Technologies Center in the Steel City, reported the Pittsburgh Business Times. The reason, according to head of global public policy Cory Owens, is in the city's position as a tech center.

"The best and the brightest minds in the field are already here and by keeping them here, we set Pittsburgh up to be one of the great mobility technology hubs in the world," Owens explained at Intelligent Transportation Systems America's annual meeting in Pittsburgh.

With that said, Uber doesn't intend to sap the city of its tech talent. Rather, executives stressed the importance of collaboration between organizations in an effort to continue providing innovative solutions and platforms for years to come.

Market to remain competitive
Based on metrics that examine unemployment rates, applicant-to-employer ratio, and applications-to-job-postings rate, Pittsburgh ranked as the sixth-best city of over 1 million people, according to a survey reported on by Tech.co. That means Pittsburgh is one of the 10 easiest big cities to find a job in.

PNC Financial Services Group also had an optimistic review of the city. Its Pittsburgh Market Outlook for the third quarter of 2015 described Pittsburgh as likely to "experience slow and steady economic growth through the remainder of 2015 and into next year." The report went on to say the city is recovering well from the economic setback during the Recession:

"Continued job creation in construction, natural resources development, high-tech, and consumer-oriented industries over the coming year will keep the local labor market progressing steadily toward rectifying workforce supply and demand turbulence."

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