Guess what?: We still make things
By The Tribune-Review
Published: Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Three long, often painful decades after the demise of Big Steel, upon which it depended so heavily, the Pittsburgh region's economy is stronger for being more diversified. But manufacturing continues to be one of its greatest strengths.
The region's 97,000 manufacturing jobs, about 8 percent of total employment, remain far short of their 1979 peak of 279,000 or 25 percent but are increasing. It's easy to overlook today's efficient, high-tech manufacturers because they make lower-profile products than did the old mass-production steel plants and are more specialized and diverse. Statewide, no single type of manufacturing accounts for more than 5 percent of the overall sector.
Yet manufacturers' estimated 2011 gross regional product rose 10 percent over 2010, to almost $13 billion, while average regional manufacturing wages were more than $57,000, about 17 percent higher than the overall regional average. And in 2012, an industry group ranked the Pittsburgh metro area 19th in total manufacturing businesses among 388 metro areas nationwide.
There's valuable synergy among the region's manufacturing, high-tech, research, education and business-services sectors. Abundant, affordable energy from natural gas is adding to the region's longtime advantages in terms of work ethic, infrastructure and proximity to markets.
And with such promising new processes as 3-D printing, manufacturing's future is bright — as a key sector of a truly 21st-century regional economy.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- ‘Un-American’? That’s Harry Reid, the Senate’s lowly smear artist
- The market speaks: Cadillac dealers reject another electric folly
- Market perversions: Chrysler retreats
- The new SAT: Rigor gets a pass
- Sunday pops
- More reefer sanity
- THE BOX
- Greensburg Tuesday takes
- Pittsburgh Tuesday takes
- The Thursday wrap
- Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances