MSN summarizes the economic surge being experienced in Pittsburgh and southwestern Pennsylvania, thanks to the development of natural gas reserves, calling the city a “boomtown.”
Why Pittsburgh is becoming a boomtown
Proximity to new oil and natural gas sites is drawing interest from abroad and fueling the city’s economic and population growth
The Primanti Bros. sandwiches are still stuffed with french fries, the Iron City beer still flows, the Andy Warhol museum is still open, the Pirates are (for now) still above .500 and the Penguins are in hockey’s Eastern Conference Finals.
Cost-of-living data company AIRINC recently put Pittsburgh on its “cities to watch” list after businesses in other countries started asking for data. As CNNMoneynotes, oil companies including Conoco Philips (COP -0.33%), Hess (HES -0.80%), Devon Energy (DVN -1.25%), Marathon (MARA +2.38%), Anadarko Petroleum (APC -0.03%), Murphy Oil (MUR +0.49%) andNoble Energy (NBL -0.28%) have been divesting their foreign holdings and setting up shop in Pennsylvania, Ohio and elsewhere in the U.S.
That puts Pittsburgh in a good position to pull in some of the $5 trillion expected to be invested in U.S. shale oil and other “unconventional” energy developments by 2035, according to consultancy IHS.
While 1.7 million people currently work in or around the new energy-rich areas opened up by hydraulic fracturing and other extraction methods, IHS expects the energy sector to directly or indirectly support 3.5 million American jobs by 2035. CNNMoney adds that energy companies from China, France, Spain and elsewhere are also investing in regions of the U.S. rich in oil and natural gas.
That’s good news for a town just getting used to hearing some. From 1950 to 2010, Pittsburgh’s population declined steadily, from nearly 677,000 to close to 306,000, as the city’s industrial base withered and jobs dried up. In the past few years, however, Census data indicate the city is growing for the first time since the 1940s.
Pittsburgh’s gross domestic product has increased by roughly $10 billion in the past five years as it transitions from manufacturing dependence to a more multifaceted economy. Carnegie-Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh and its medical center provide much of the job base, despite the industrial presence of U.S. Steel (X -0.92%) and PPG Industries (PPG -0.42%).
After decades of playing the fading, “Flashdance” underdogs, the Yinzers of Pittsburgh are now living in America’s newest boomtown. It’s been a long wait, but the world’s powers are on the city’s doorstep if it wants to let them in.