After coming out of what he calls “frustratingly slow progress” in 2010, PNC economist Robert Dye says southwestern Pennsylvania’s economy will be “moderate and stable” in 2011. Dye says the slowdown in the summer now looks to have been a “soft patch” rather than the beginning of a double dip recession. He says the relatively good numbers seen in recent months should build momentum in 2011 with a little more growth, a slow drop in unemployment, and pickup of the housing market slack. However, Dye says, “it will not be a ‘snap back’ economy.”
Dye says the education and medical sectors will continue to lead the region’s economy and help to moderate bad economic news and he says the energy and banking sectors will also help to drive the economy. Dye says Marcellus Shale exploration and extraction will be a “game changer” going forward. He says as the world economy rebounds, demand for energy will grow and so will the value of the shale fields. He admits that there are still political hurdles to clear in Pennsylvania and in some municipalities but he says those will shrink as the potential for economic impact from Marcellus Shale drilling grows.
Dye believes southwestern Pennsylvania’s financial sector will benefit from the region’s better than average growth in 2011. “Being able to provide services to this wide variety of medical and educational, high-tech energy resources, and the growing service sector at large, is providing many opportunities or companies,” says Dye. Dye also feels companies in the region working with nuclear power will see growth in the long term. “We have a missing generation of nuclear power plants,” says Dye, and as the world gets more comfortable with the idea of nuclear power demand will start to grow.