How Culture Saved the Steel City


The decline started in the 1970s, and by the 1980s it had become a flood tide of economic woe and suffering. Pittsburgh’s steel industry was in collapse, and the city’s iconic manufacturing strength was in severe recession. In a few decades, the region lost 300,000 in population, the steel industry lost 150,000 jobs, and unemployment surged over 20 percent. Southwestern Pennsylvania—once the manufacturing hub of the nation—had shrunk to a shadow of its former self. The region’s economy was in recession, and the heart of a great and proud city was shaken.

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