Thanks to continued strength across a diverse economy, the Pittsburgh region landed 286 economic development deals in 2011, pushing ahead of its performance in the previous year and maintaining its momentum toward pre-recession levels of business activity.

The Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, a partnership of 50-plus private and public sector leaders and economic development professionals from 10 southwestern Pennsylvania counties, each year collects data on announced investment and development projects, or “wins.” The 286 wins of 2011 represent nearly $1.5 billion in capital investment and are expected to create 11,440 new jobs. The number reflects an increase over the 272 projects logged in 2010, and approaches the 290 wins reported, pre-recession, in 2008.

David J. Malone, Vice Chair of the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, speaks about the region’s 286 “wins” at the March 14 Allegheny Conference luncheon.

“Across all 10 counties of the region and all of our five key industry sectors, companies are expanding and growing. Deals increased in the region – an important indicator of investors’ confidence,” said Dennis Yablonsky, CEO of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and its Affiliates, which include the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, or PRA. “The region is both attracting and retaining investment because of its stability. Existing businesses in the region are expanding – accounting for the majority of the deals in 2011, but attraction projects also increased over the past year to 58, up from 47 in 2010. This is the highest number recorded since we started tracking wins five years ago. Companies are not only expanding existing operations here, but they’re opening new facilities.”

Cutting across a number of industries, energy – one of the region’s key economic drivers – accounted for a total of 79 wins. These reinforce the depth of the region’s assets in traditional and renewable energy resources, energy supply chain and energy conservation. During 2011, there were 39 investments announced by companies in the natural resources industry – companies involved in the extraction of coal and natural gas, which includes the Marcellus Shale gas play. This is an increase from 32 investments in 2010, 25 in 2009 and only 11 in 2008.

The region’s other key sectors had strong performances in 2011:

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Check out this video of Allegheny Conference CEO Dennis Yablonsky discussing the impact of the 286 wins: