Economy
7:31 pm
Wed February 1, 2012

U.S. Commerce Secretary Applauds Pittsburgh Progress

One week after President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, Commerce Secretary John Bryson joined Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and others at Carnegie Mellon University to discuss their commitment to energy efficiency, conservation, and innovation, as well as creating and retaining jobs.

The main focus of the discussion was on supporting American manufacturers.

"We need our U.S. businesses to build it here, but take it and sell it everywhere, and that's just a constant refrain for us," said Bryson. "Here in western Pennsylvania, you're creating companies that are built to last, and you're creating good jobs with them too."

Earlier in the day, Bryson toured Aquion Energy, a Carnegie Mellon University spin-off and battery technology company. He said it's companies like Aquion that have helped lift Pittsburgh during times of financial hardship.

"With discipline and creativity and persuasiveness, putting Pittsburgh in this position of a greatly strengthened economy, and putting Pittsburgh into a position where the unemployment levels are really down in ways that are not true for many other places in the country," said Bryson.

Both Mayor Ravenstahl and Secretary Bryson said they have a strong commitment to continuing to build on that success, and added that manufacturing, once thought to be dead, will be a big part of progress.

"Today, over 11 million Americans have manufacturing jobs, and over the last two years, manufacturing has added more than 330,000 American jobs. That is the biggest jump since the 1990s," added Bryson.

Bryson was part of a panel discussion featuring businesses leaders and officials from CMU, which also emphasized the importance of educating and retaining talent in Pittsburgh.