Pittsburgh Jobs Report

Harold Miller has an interesting new report on the state of Pittsburgh's job market. At his blog, Harold summarizes his findings:
Moreover, jobs in science, engineering, and health care are growing faster in the Pittsburgh Region than in the U.S. as a whole and faster than many high-tech regions of the country.

With appropriate funding support from the state and federal governments, the universities and health care systems could continue to create more jobs, as well as the ideas that lead to new businesses. In addition, more jobs in corporate R&D could be created through an aggressive marketing effort. The continued presence of long-standing corporate R&D Centers for companies like Alcoa, Bayer, PPG, and U.S. Steel, and the recent successes in attracting research centers for Google, Intel, RAND, Seagate, and others, prove that southwestern Pennsylvania is an ideal spot for growing R&D jobs of all kinds.

In evaluating the region's economy, it's important to look beyond changes in total employment and focus on whether job growth is occurring in the sectors that bring new revenues into the economy, such as manufacturing, higher education, and research and development. These are the sectors that attract and retain talented young people and build regional wealth. Growth in these kinds of jobs will, over time, lead to population growth in the region, which in turn will lead to higher rates of job creation in the population-dependent sectors of the economy. That will move total job growth in the Pittsburgh Region closer to the national rate.

Comments

4 Responses to "Pittsburgh Jobs Report"

Drover said... 3/31/2006 3:53 AM

Excuse me? "With appropriate funding support from the state and federal governments, the universities and health care systems could continue to create more jobs, as well as the ideas that lead to new businesses"?

Here's an idea: Remove the economic, political and cultural barriers to entrepreneurship in the region and enough private funding will flow in to spark the renaissance that has, over the last few decades, revitalized other established cities or caused brand new ones to spring forth from nearly nothing. Why should taxpayers from Cheyenne or Punta Gorda be asked to make investments in the Pittsburgh region that Pittsburghers themselves won't make?

But wait: "[J]obs in science, engineering, and health care are growing faster in the Pittsburgh Region than in the U.S. as a whole and faster than many high-tech regions of the country." So why is more taxpayer funding even necessary? What compelling interest do taxpayers from around the country have in funding the development of Pittsburgh's high-skilled service economy that’s already expanding quicker than in their own regions? If their tax resources are to be used for this purpose at all, shouldn't said resources be funding similar development in their own regions so that they can be more competitive with the Pittsburgh region?

Harold D. Miller said... 4/02/2006 10:24 PM

"Removing the economic, political and cultural barriers to entrepreneurship in the region" is a good idea. But it's not an alternative to funding for R&D, it's a complement. (For more details on what should be done to encourage entrepreneurship, see www.pittsburghfuture.com/innovation/entrepreneurs.html.)

So what is "appropriate" funding support? (That was my word.) The federal government spends a very large amount of money every year on R&D, ranging from agriculture to defense to health care. And federal funding for science & technology R&D is likely to increase next year. The question is not whether it is going to be spent, but where. Much of the research funding is awarded through peer-review processes to insure it goes to the places that will do the best job. We should be happy that so much of that funding comes here -- it means that our researchers are top-notch.

The state also provides funding for R&D, and many other states are investing a lot more in R&D than Pennsylvania is. The state funding can be an important complement to the federal funding. For example, the state's CURE grants help university and medical researchers advance projects to the point where they can better qualify for federal funding. The Governor has proposed to cut those funds in order to help build more labs -- the right solution is to do both, not sacrifice one for the other. The state could also be investing more in R&D in areas where the region has competitive strengths, such as in advanced materials and nanotechnology. Those are our own tax dollars that we would be investing in ourselves and our future.

Anonymous said... 4/03/2006 9:12 PM

I agree with Harold, basic research funding is important and one of the few good things the state and federal government can invest in.

With that being said...we could cut 15% of the state's largesse and know one except the legislators and leeches(lobbyists,bureacrats and cronies) would notice.

1)Eliminate the LCB
2)Eliminate the Turnpike Commission
3)Eliminate the Labor Department
4)Reduce the size of the legislature

But with the current Governor, legislative leadership and a local newspaper like the Post-Gazette that subtly endorses the corrupt politicians we might never get change.

We prefer paying for sports arenas through elaborate public funding schemes instead of private financing, we build highways 30 years too late missing half the ramps and regulate things that need no regulation.

Drover said... 4/07/2006 12:24 PM

"We should be happy that so much of that funding comes here -- it means that our researchers are top-notch."

Well, there's the rub. "we" does not include me. I live in Chicago. If indeed Pittsburgh's R&D sector is already growing faster than the rest of the nation and even many tech hotspots, and if my resources must be appropriated to fund research and development, I'd rather those resources stayed here, thank you very much.

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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at]gmail.com. Mike also blogs at Madisonian.net, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

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