More Tech-Burgh rankings

Just looking at this now... but last month the Milken Institute came out with a report that ranks Pittsburgh 46th among regions as a technology pole. Ho hum. Not top 10 or even 20... but not 300. Also not much movement in recent years it looks like. For more see:

North America’s High-Tech Economy: The Geography of Knowledge-Based Industries


8 Responses to "More Tech-Burgh rankings"

Anonymous said... 7/09/2009 9:19 AM


This rings true to me. There hasn't been a truly significant tech success story in Pitt THIS DECADE. Think about it. The last (and only) successes that hit the national radar were Fore and FM back in the '90's. Pitt has a small cluster of decent tech companies but they don't drive the economy or job growth. We still have very long way to go.

We're followers here. In order to break away from the pack, we need to be doing things no one else is working on and/or exploiting our comparative advantages. The energy cluster appears to be the one area which could really drive growth. There's still hope here unless Obama and his boys wreck the coal and nuclear industries.

C. Briem said... 7/09/2009 1:10 PM

sorry to confuse.. that wasn't Mike.

Anonymous said... 7/10/2009 10:57 AM

we're got a long way to go 'til we're Wichita (24th)

Joey said... 7/10/2009 5:36 PM

Wichita... who knew?

Anonymous said... 7/11/2009 2:40 AM

Anybody know what's going on in Wichita???

houser said... 7/12/2009 2:33 PM

I didn't know until I Googled, but Wichita calls itself "Air Capital of the World." (I assume this is a bit of the American trait of equating "of considerable size, as far as we know" with "world's largest." But then, Pittsburgh has more bridges than any city in the whole wide world, so...)

Anyway, Wichita has quite a lot of airplane manufacturing, everything from Boeing 737s to business jets to Cessnas. Blow up the Wichita details and you'll find it reports $2.7 billion in wages and 38,000 people employed in aerospace product and parts manufacturing, which accounts for almost all its high tech industry. It's ranked No. 1 in the country in this category according to Milken.

Which is all well and good, unless, say, just hypothetically, that the world was going through some kind of recession, in which people held off buying private planes and corporate jets for a prolonged period. You could have a kind of Detroit situation...

Pittsburgh has $4.4 billion total high-tech wages in the Milken study, and the biggest segment, architectural/engineering, accounts for only one-third of high-tech wages and one-fourth of the employment. There's a word for that, of course: diversification. We may not be ranked higher than No. 20 in any category, but then maybe we've learned about the downside of being the "Steel Capital of the World."

What we do have here, and what many people in high-tech who've never set foot in Pittsburgh know about, is a hub of robotics, machine learning, AI, and other very high-tech research that is absolutely top-tier. Plus a budding biotech sector. Both are lashed to educational institutions that are not going to leave this city for a better tax break elsewhere.

One thing I discovered in years of reporting on data and trends at the Trib is that as much as we love to rank things, data can obscure and mask things almost as often as it enlightens.

Mark Houser

Anonymous said... 7/13/2009 9:05 AM

"Hey, did you see that report on tech cities?" (Wichita guy A)

"Yeah. We need to try harder. Slack a little more and some place like Pittsburgh is going to catch up" (Wichita guy B)

"(LOL) What's in Pittsburgh? Who knew. I thought all they had was football and hockey" (Wichita guy C)

Bree said... 7/26/2009 1:11 AM

If all Pittsburgh can do is dominate football and hockey, I'm happy! lol
-Jennifer from

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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] Mike also blogs at, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

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