Metropolitan Pittsburgh provides evidence that there is a way back to prosperity after the loss of a high-wage manufacturing industry. Since the collapse of steel more than 25 years ago, metro Pittsburgh has regained prosperity. In 2008 it returned to its previous peak in per capita income, at 104 percent of the national average. That is despite employment earnings from primary metals (the industry that includes steel) falling from 14 percent to under 2 percent of the region’s income.
There's more in the full report, but I can't resist pasting here one more sentence just for fun:
Of the 55 metropolitan areas with populations of a million or more, [Pittsburgh] ranked 16th and was more prosperous than Dallas, Raleigh/Durham, Austin, Portland and Atlanta.
Enough gushing about Pittsburgh. There are a bunch of Census stories in newspapers today. Somewhat similar to Pittsburgh, Rochester is experiencing its own turnaround:
Monroe County's estimated population on July 1, 2009, was 733,703, an increase of 2,160 from a year earlier, according to the new data. The county's population hasn't gone up that much since 2000, when the increase was 3,704.In five of 10 years from 2000 through 2009, the county's population showed annual declines, according to Census estimates. And Monroe County's population is about 1,600 less than in 2000 and about 2,000 below what it was in 2004.But a positive trend may be developing. The Census Bureau also estimated increases of 171 in 2007 and 914 in 2008.
A bit more up and down than Allegheny County, but the trend is encouraging. The numbers provide another data point concerning the Brookings break up of the Rust Belt. Some cities are, indeed, making a comeback. As per usual, the economic development is geographically uneven. Now more than ever, speaking in regional terms makes little sense.