Once centered on the steel industry, Pittsburgh’s economy has become much more diversified over the past 20 years. There are a multitude of international firms with headquarters or regional offices in the metro. Additionally, nine Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in Pittsburgh, including U.S. Steel Corp., H.J. Heinz, and Dick's Sporting Goods.
A byproduct of the metro’s industrial past is high technology. High-tech is one of the area’s fastest-growing industries, particularly automation and manufacturing equipment, software, and biotechnology. Also, the energy and environmental services, pharmaceuticals, and various medical fields are gaining traction. Stimulating this growth are research institutions such as Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.
One of Pittsburgh’s key economic strengths is its location. Pittsburgh sits within a 500-mile radius of more than 50 percent of the United States and Canadian population. Its strategic location and vast waterway system are conducive to trade, bringing in billions of dollars each year in economic benefits.
The metro sits on top of vast natural gas reserves in the Marcellus Shale formation. Development of the industry has brought some of the largest natural gas producers to locate in the area. Expanding production is producing a large economic impact in the region.
The Pittsburgh metro rests at the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains, in the southeast corner of Pennsylvania, outside the congested East Coast corridor. It covers 5,300 square miles of rolling, often hilly, terrain. The city of Pittsburgh is located where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers join together to form the Ohio River.
The metro itself consists of Armstrong, Butler, Fayette, Westmoreland, Washington, Allegheny and Beaver counties. The metro has nearly 2.4 million residents, with the largest concentrations in Allegheny, Westmoreland and Washington counties. Pittsburgh is the second-largest city in Pennsylvania, with approximately 306,000 residents.