This show was originally recorded on 10/13/08 on Columbus Day as a prelude to a series on the strength of the Pittsburgh Economy. Hear Techno Granny’s opinion on just why this article by Bill Sapporito from Time Magazine exemplifies how Pittsburgh is not “just another sad face” in this current economic downturn.
Title: Positively Pittsburgh Live! Pittsburh Economic Weaknesses Become Strengths
Time: 10/13/2008 07:00 PM EDT
Episode Notes: Columbus Day prelude to series on Economic Strength of Pittsburgh. Positive News for Pittsburgh's economic viability in tough times
This episode can be hear archived at: http://www.talkshoe.com/talkshoe/web/tscmd/tc/18520
Or on Positively Pittsburgh Live unique radio channel at: www.positivelypittsburghlivemagazine.com
Thursday, Oct. 09, 2008
One Bright Spot on Main Street
By Bill Saporito/Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh knows all about recessions. This city was left for dead when steel and heavy manufacturing were smothered by globalization that started some 20 years ago. Pittsburgh never had a housing boom. How could it, when a quarter of the population evaporated when the jobs did? Pittsburgh's finances were so awful that it became a virtual ward of the state in 2003. Is your burg afraid of losing airline service? USAir's business crashed here in 2002. The spacious airport is half empty on a Sunday.
How bad will it get? The answer depends in large part on how local economies like Pittsburgh's adapt. And here's a surprise: for a metropolis synonymous with America's declining industrial might, the no-longer Steel City seems in a better position to withstand a downturn than many other places.
Why? Practice, for one. "We never had a housing crisis," says Pittsburgh's controller, Michael Lamb. "We already weathered that storm." Foreclosures declined 20% for two months compared with a year ago. Home prices are relatively steady. When the economy began to pick up steam again after 2003, Pittsburgh was a city with affordable housing, great parks and recreation, rich cultural and sports scenes, and surviving industry clusters that were globally competitive--a helpful thing when recession returns. "We've done a really good job at coming to terms with how to manage. Our weaknesses 25 years ago led to strength. We're much stronger as a result of our struggles," says Mike Anselmo, regional manager of PNC Financial, a dominant bank in the area. Anselmo's firm is a case in point. Unlike so many larger banks that got tangled in the subprime scam, PNC Financial avoided exposure to derivatives or combustible mortgages. Now PNC is building the first office tower to go up in downtown Pittsburgh in 20 years. There's also a new hockey arena being built, as well as a casino and even some downtown condos, which will keep the construction trades busy while they get crushed elsewhere.