Is Pittsburgh a Model for Manufacturing?

Aug. 12, 2009
Collaboration, not market forces, keeps city vital

Pittsburgh's revival is due to the high degree of collaboration between industry, labor and government, according to Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) A specifically designed industrial policy brought Pittsburgh back, not market forces, explains Casey.

As the Pittsburgh economy changed The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center replaced U.S. Steel as the regions largest employer. However the manufacturing base diversified into products ranging from advanced metal alloys to surgical implants and sophisticated robotics.

With roughly 100,000 workers, or 10% of the area workforce, manufacturing remains a vital part of the regional economy. United Steelworkers president Leo Gerard spoke at the conference as well and pointed out that in Pittsburgh manufacturing, which pays much higher than its service counterpoints, is moving forward. "I take issue with the term Rust Belt. There is no rust. The modern steel mill is a very high tech, almost space-like facility," he said. He also pointed out that these mills release 1/3 of the carbon than a steel mill in China.

The transformation in Pittsburgh, as well as the issues that still must be addressed, is the subject of the report, Pittsburgh the Rest of the Story" released on August 11 by the Campaign for America's Future. The city of Pittsburgh is often given as an example of a locale that has successfully made the transition from the old to the new, explained Robert Borosage, co-director of the Campaign for America's Future. The report examines Pittsburgh's story and points out lessons for us as a nation.

To view the report visit

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