Pennsylvania is facing a crisis, and business as usual just won’t cut it anymore. Two-thirds of Pennsylvania counties are shrinking every year, with an aging population dying off and other families moving away to find opportunities elsewhere.
The Pittsburgh region faces its own unique challenges. Since 2010, 42,000 more people died in the region than were born, more than the combined population of Uniontown, Greensburg, and Butler. That’s far more than in any other big-city region in the country. That means we must attract thousands of new residents every year just to keep from shrinking. But those new people will only come if they see an opportunity.
But we are losing good paying jobs. Manufacturing jobs anchor the economy and provide the broadest opportunities across urban and rural areas. And we are losing out.
In the five years before the pandemic, Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana combined to add more than 66,000 manufacturing jobs. Pennsylvania lost 300. Here’s how Pennsylvania stacks up against the states that have a better reputation than us for being a good place to do business.
We need to improve Pennsylvania’s business reputation, which lags behind the states we compete with for jobs and investment.
We need to support people who use their hands to keep the physical world working and provide welcoming career paths for those who want to enter the workforce without attending college.
We need to advance energy policies that make economic sense, ensure a reliable supply, and respect the environment.
Pennsylvania needs to embrace its heritage, play to its strengths, and become a top competitor for significant manufacturing and energy projects.