Report: Local capital investment created, retained about 16,000 jobs
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The $3 billion in capital investment that local companies announced in 2009 will be responsible for retaining or creating about 16,000 jobs, the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance Partnership, an affiliate of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, announced Wednesday following its annual meeting.
Dennis Yablonsky, CEO of the Allegheny Conference, said there were 197 business expansions, attractions, relocations or retentions in the region associated with the capital investment.
That was down significantly from last year when then conference CEO Michael Langley announced that the region had 290 capital investments in businesses and commercial developments in the 10-county region around Pittsburgh worth $4.5 billion in 2008.
When Mr. Yablonsky took to the podium at the Senator John Heinz History Center this year to talk about the economic development "wins" in the region, he noted that even in a tough economy "the region has continued to make progress."
The progress in economic development was good enough to put Pittsburgh in the seventh spot on Site Selection Magazine's list of top metro areas. It was the same ranking Pittsburgh had last year in the magazine's list.
Mr. Yablonsky said 25 of the 44 companies that invested significant capital in the region were energy companies or related industries that had come in to the area or expanded locally because of the natural gas located in the Marcellus Shale
Ray N. Walker Jr., a senior vice president of Range Resources, of Fort Worth, Texas, said his company moved him here to open a Marcellus Shale office in Southpointe. Since he unlocked the door in January 2007 the office has grown to employ 200 people locally and 310 across the state.
Mr. Walker said there were 55,000 people in Pennsylvania employed in industries involved in the extraction of the natural gas and he predicted that number to double by the end of this year.
Another economic "win" was Seegrid Corp., which employs about 50 people in Findlay Township building robots to be used in warehouse operations. The company had about a dozen employees in 2008.
Anthony Horbal, president of Seegrid, said the company, which grew out of an idea developed at Carnegie Mellon University, is selling robots to companies across the country and exploring sales to Europe and Asia.
This is the third annual report on investment in the region by the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance.
First Published March 18, 2010 12:00 am