Friday, April 21, 2006

Job Creation in Pittsburgh Pt. I

Dueling posts in the Post-Gazette regarding two job expansions in the Pittsburgh Region. Here's the first article:

Real estate and financial management giant Jones Lang LaSalle plans to locate its national call center operations in Pittsburgh, a move that could bring 150 jobs Downtown in the next five years...

Mr. Rendell said Jones Lang LaSalle has signed a lease for about 23,000 square feet of new space in 525 William Penn Place, formerly known as Three Mellon Center. The company is moving from the Union Trust Building, where its lease, like those of many other tenants, expires next month. Fifty employees occupy 6,000 to 7,000 square feet there, and another 20 work at other sites.

Pittsburgh was one of three finalists being considered for the move and won the bid because of its "high quality work force, central location and strong public-sector investments in business development," said J.C. Pelusi, managing director of the company's Pittsburgh office...

Mr. Rendell presented Jones Lang LaSalle with a check for $487,600 from the state's Department of Community and Economic Development to help fund the expansion...
OK, so far so good. Now, here's the second article:
Four hundred assembly line and office workers stood in the sun and celebrated yesterday as officials from the German electronics and equipment giant Siemens AG told them the news: The company is investing $7.2 million to expand the former Robicon factory in the Westmoreland County-owned Upper Burrell industrial park.

By March of next year, Siemens will hire another 145 full-time workers, pushing employment to 480, and finish work on a 30,000 square foot facility next door...

Production now is "bursting at the seams," he said, as the little factory rushes to meet demand for controls for huge industrial motors, fans, and pumps that run pollution control systems, mostly in Asia and Europe. Siemens also owns a development lab in nearby Plum.

Pennsylvania offered Siemens several incentives to upgrade the plant, including a $2.5 million government package that includes low-interest loans and $300,000 in tax credits.
So... which one is the better value here: (a) a call center or (b) a manufacturing plant? Which one will perform better in the region, attracting additional jobs and talent... and which one is just neo-smokestack chasing?

I don't really have an answer yet... but I hope to as soon as I get my friggin' data sets in order and as soon as I remember how to do long division.

Stay tuned.

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