Chris Briem points to a Dennis Roddy authored article that helps to explain why anyone would be bullish on Pittsburgh's future economic prospects:
Steel was the manufacturing base that made possible so many of the other businesses, so when the steel mills closed, the machine shops went out of business. When the machine shops went out of business, the tool suppliers went out of business. When the tool suppliers went out of business, those people lots their jobs, they didn’t shop anymore, they didn’t go out to eat anymore, and school districts suddenly found themselves denuded of pupils. We’ve actually closed high schools in the city of Pittsburgh, because it’s now half the population it once was.
Our depression twenty-five years ago started from here and spread out. Now, it’s nibbling in from the outside on us. It’s still a recession, but it’s not the implosion it was before. We’re not rotting from the center this time.
Roddy offers a powerful geographic abstraction. Cities currently suffering in the core, as opposed to the periphery, are the ones in dire straits. Pittsburgh's economic geography is remarkably dense and its regional drivers (eds and meds) are still creating jobs. The current collapse of manufacturing isn't dragging down Pittsburgh with it.
Contrast that with Charlotte and you get a very different story. Pittsburgh and Charlotte roughly have lost about the same percentage of manufacturing jobs. However, if you look at the total losses of non-farm employment, you'll see how much more Charlotte is suffering.
Charlotte is imploding while Pittsburgh's core is thriving.