Pittsburgh isn’t escaping the recession unscathed, but it’s probably doing the best of any city between Philadelphia and Chicago. Partly, the city was lucky to be unlucky before anyone else. Perhaps of equal importance, city leaders took the right steps to give Pittsburgh a new raison d’être. The New York Times reports:
Pittsburgh’s transition has been proceeding for decades in fits and starts, benefiting some areas much more than others. A development plan begun in the 1980s successfully used the local universities to pour state funds into technology research.
Entrepreneurship bloomed in computer software and biotechnology. Two of the biggest sectors are education and health care, among the most resistant to downturns. Prominent companies are doing well. Westinghouse Electric, a builder of nuclear reactors, expects to hire 350 new employees a year for the foreseeable future. And commercial construction, plunging in most places, is still thriving partly because of big projects like a casino and an arena for the Penguins hockey team.