The region continued to grow at a steady economic pace in 2013, driven forward by gains not only in manufacturing and development, but also in the strength of the region’s information technology sector.

Overall the Pittsburgh region chalked up 302 economic development deals during 2013, a 13% increase over activity in 2012, the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance (PRA) reported during its annual meeting on Wednesday.

Even more promising, the region saw a convergence of information and communications technology with nearly every industry sector. The number of IT deals increased dramatically from 33 in 2012 to 51 deals in 2013, the largest gain since 2008, according to the PRA.

“The important message in what we tracked from last year was from the information technology sector,” said Dewitt Peart, president of the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce. “IT is embedded in every industry sector we have. We anticipate that growing.”

Added Audrey Russo, president of the Pittsburgh Technology Council: “It’s a new world that requires a new work order. The region’s highest paying jobs are in this sector.”

Over the last three years, software engineering jobs alone increased four-fold, Russo added. “Technology is ubiquitous across everything, all businesses.”

The total deals represent a $2.4 billion investment in the region with the anticipation of 8,700 jobs. Manufacturing continued to dominate, which is no surprise. Strongest sectors were financial services, information and communications IT, energy and health and life sciences.

The deals, or wins, describe company expansions, new projects, and companies that were attracted to the region.  A majority of the deals were project or company expansions, 124 in 2013. One quarter of the deal total were companies that moved into the region in 2013.

Five major expansion projects totaling more than $40 million took place last year. Among them were a regional headquarters expansion for Chevron in Butler County, a distribution facility for Gordon Food Service, a CSX Corporation transportation terminal and an expansion for titanium manufacturer, the Perryman Company.

Among the largest companies attracted to the region in 2013 was the Lady Luck Casino, American Wire Research, an advanced manufacturer and IT firm CSC, which leased 57,201 square feet on Penn Avenue in the Strip District.

The region continues to progress along but the region needs to get the message out, said Peart. “The world still doesn’t know about Pittsburgh.”

Deb Smit

Deb is an award-winning journalist who loves ancient places and cool technologies. A former daily newspaper reporter and Time-Life Books editor, she writes mostly about Pittsburgh. Her stories have appeared...