Thursday, June 14, 2012

U.S. Chamber of Commerce touts Pittsburgh's job creation

By Tracie Mauriello / Post-Gazette Washington Bureau    
WASHINGTON -- Pennsylvania doesn't appear anywhere on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's top 10 lists of exporters, job creators or producers of college graduates, but travel to the southwest corner and you'll find a center of innovation so strong that it's the national business group's best role model for job creation.

The Chamber released its findings Wednesday in two reports issued at the conservative business group's annual Jobs Summit. One of the reports highlights Pittsburgh and Denver, cities that over the past two years had more job growth than the country's other metropolitan areas with populations of more than 1 million.

Pittsburgh showed 3.9 percent job growth and Denver showed 3.8 percent, while the average for the other 49 largest metropolitan areas is 2.8 percent.

The Chamber attributed the cities' success to networking and business partnerships, but the cities have one more thing in common: a history of hosting huge conventions that put the eyes of the world on them.

Denver hosted the 2008 Democratic National Convention; Pittsburgh, the 2009 G-20 world economic summit.

"You simply cannot put a dollar figure on the kind of marketing that occurred. ... Everybody knows about Denver now," Mayor Michael Hancock said during a panel discussion Wednesday.
Likewise, the G-20 helped raise Pittsburgh's profile as a convention destination and as an innovative city that transformed itself after the decline of the steel industry.

"It enabled us to show off our city, to show off some of the things we have, and we did ... gain some business growth from that," Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said. It was worth the disruptions caused by road closures and security measures surrounding the summit, he said.

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