The Allegheny Conference on Community Development says despite the down economy there was some good growth in Southwestern Pennsylvania last year. Allegheny Conference CEO Dennis Yablonsky says in 2009 his group was able to track 197 economic development projects that attracted or retained 16-thousand jobs and accounted for $3 billion in capital investments. Yablonsky says numbers from Site Selection Magazine shows the region is doing better than might be expected. The magazine ranked the region number seven in the nation. Yablonsky says “that is pretty impressive for the 21st largest metro area in US. Yablonsky says the highest percentage of the new projects where in the Advanced Manufacturing Sector and the Energy Sector came in at number two. He says more than half of those energy projects were related to Marcellus Shale gas efforts. Yablonsky says both those sectors will continue to be import growth areas in the future.
Range Resources is an energy company doing Marcellus Shale work in the region. Senior VP Ray Walker will continue to grow in Southwestern PA and it will serve as a catalyst for development in industries that use gas in their production. Walker says the jobs directly created by the shale gas industry range from entry-level laborer jobs to chemists and other highly paid professionals. The financial sector was the number three project-creation sector in the 10-county area.