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Economy & Business

Chamber of Commerce Wants to Know How Pittsburgh Keeps Strong Job Market

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald has been invited to speak to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce this Thursday about the Pittsburgh area's strong job market.

Fitzgerald said the region's job growth can't be chalked up to a single industry. He said the burgeoning Marcellus Shale natural gas sector is only a "piece of it."

"Marcellus Shale has certainly been one area, but they've been developing shale [gas] all over the country," said Fitzgerald. "Down in Texas, up in Wyoming, Louisiana, Oklahoma — it's not like we're the only ones."

While the city's traditional steel industry is also doing well right now, Fitzgerald said the Pittsburgh area has a strong job market across the board.

"We're a major IT [information technology] producer, with Google and Microsoft working collaboratively with CMU [Carnegie Mellon University]," said Fitzgerald. "We're a major rail producer, of rail cars, switching equipment technology for the rail industry. We're a major entertainment sector, with movies being made here. Paramount and Disney having major operations here."

All things considered, the County Executive said times have changed for the Pittsburgh area.

"It's kind of ironic: probably ten or fifteen years ago, we would have been at the other end of that information, trying to figure out how to grow our region, when we were down near the bottom in job growth and economic development," said Fitzgerald.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said Pittsburgh has recovered all the jobs it lost during the recession, and added a few more on top of that.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics listed Allegheny County's unemployment rate as 6.3% in March. The national rate was 8.4%.

The Chamber of Commerce also invited Bayer Corporation President Greg Babe and Allegheny Conference CEO Dennis Yablonsky to speak about the Pittsburgh job market.

Officials from Denver were also invited to speak about that city's low unemployment figures.