Thriving Tech Sector Revives Pittsburgh

The onetime industrial powerhouse successfully shifted its economic base to education, health care, finance and, more recently, technology. The metro is now home to more than 1,600 technology firms.
Office-using employment in Pittsburgh, click to enlarge

Pittsburgh stands as a model for reinvention, having successfully shifted its economic base to education, health care, finance and, more recently, technology. The metro was a late joiner to the tech craze, but caught up rapidly.

Although nobody would confuse it with Seattle, or even Austin, Pittsburgh is home to more than 1,600 technology firms. Google, IBM, Apple, Intel, Uber and Amazon are among the firms taking advantage of the skilled workforce produced by the metro’s 68 colleges and universities. Carnegie Mellon University recently launched an undergraduate degree in artificial intelligence—the first in the nation—as part of an effort to boost the city’s tech chops. Other efforts to improve the economy come from the Allegheny County Airport Authority’s $1.1 billion plan to modernize Pittsburgh International Airport and the $400 million expansion of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the metro’s largest employer.

Despite the efforts of public and private sources, overall job growth trails national trends. The professional and business services sector added 3,500 jobs in the 12 months ending in May.

With engineering and robotics poised for growth, demand for office space has increased and absorption is expected to continue to grow. Development activity is sluggish, with roughly 915,000 square feet under construction as of June.

Read the full Yardi Matrix report.