Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pittsburgh A Great Place To Start A Small Business

Update: I see in the Tribune-Review that the rankings are from Fortune magazine.

Or so says CNNMoney.com (via TECHburgher). Georgia Berner provides the inside scoop:

The seven-county area here has a lot going for it, and Pittsburgh is the star of western Pennsylvania. Everyone talks about Pittsburgh's universities, and of course they turn out well-educated students ready to go.

That's one side of the equation. The other is that there are lots of people here who know how to make things -- tradesmen and craftsmen. We too often overlook people who can make things. I need assemblers and equipment operators and welders, just as households need plumbers and carpenters. Pittsburgh has a wealth of those people. The cost of housing and services here is much less than elsewhere, so these workers can support a family quite nicely here.

That "build stuff" ethos could be a big asset given the latest reset of economic globalization. The push is for the United States to be more export-oriented. That assumes, of course, that the BRIC countries are ready to import more manufactured goods. That's the basic give and take of international trade, but there is also the prospect of the United State orienting its own market more towards domestic production.

Just as the world shifted away from the Rust Belt, it now returns.


Stephen Gross said...

It's a nice idea, but probably too optimistic. I remember the same argument being made again-and-again back in Cleveland for many years. Heck, they say the same thing in the Detroit area. There's definitely a sizable laborforce in the rust belt with a lot of making-things skills. But right now hoping that those skills will be leveraged is speculative at best. I'd love to see a return of manufacturing and craftsmanship in America, but I'm not holding my breath.

Jim Russell said...

The difference between now and saying the same thing years ago is changing macroeconomic climate. The rethinking of global supply chains and the clarion call for more American exports (and less consumerism) is the handwriting on the wall. That said, you are right. It is just speculation on my part.

Stephen Gross said...

There's plenty of hand-wringing about the decline of American exports. But I haven't seen any action on that front on a national level (other than the occasional tariff wars that are usually prompted by disagreement over international policy).

Jim Russell said...

I've seen a lot of movement, particularly all the discourse surrounding Waxman-Markey. Then we have the currency markets and the decline of Dollarization. In fact, all the international/global rhetoric is the strongest signal of the changing winds.

Jim Russell said...

Check this out:


The American Institute for International Steel — a group of companies that import steel and therefore like free trade — says government data indicates that steel exports during August were about 975,000 tons, while imports were about 800,000 tons.

It was the first month in more than half a century that the United States was a net exporter of steel.