Study: Pittsburgh region continues slow growth
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The Pittsburgh region's gross metropolitan product increased by $5.2 billion last year, reflecting slow but general strengthening of the U.S. economy, the U.S. Conference of Mayors said today in an annual snapshot of economic conditions.
The Pittsburgh region's gross metropolitan product totaled $118.8 billion, 22nd highest among 363 metropolitan areas included in the report. The region's gross metropolitan project was $113.6 billion in 2010, according to the report, prepared by IHS Global Insight.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter is president of the conference, which is meeting in the City of Brotherly Love.
The report said the nation continues to claw its way out of the recession. "With each passing quarter," it said, "more and more regional economies are seeing their employment levels return to peak and their housing markets stabilize."
In a report earlier this year, the conference and Council for the New American City said Pittsburgh is one of 52 metropolitan areas that already recovered all of the jobs lost during the recession or are expected to do so by year's end.
In all, according to the new report, 267 metropolitan areas saw economic growth last year. The chemicals industry has been and will continue to be a "key driver" of growth, the report said, noting plans for a new cracker plant for the Marcellus Shale industry in Beaver County.
The Pittsburgh region ranked 237th in the average annual rate of economic growth -- 3.4 percent -- since 2001. Midland, Texas, ranked first with an average annual growth rate of 9.1 percent.
In an interview, Mesa, Ariz., Mayor Scott Smith, the conference's vice president, said the report also cites the importance of building infrastructure that "allows commerce to flow."
Funding challenges have taken a toll on the nation's infrastructure, dragging down competitiveness, the report said. At a special meeting Tuesday, Pittsburgh City Council heard that the city and upstream municipalities will have to spend as much $277 million in coming years to meet federal and state regulations for controlling sewer overflows and storm flooding.
First Published July 19, 2012 7:00 am