Saturday, September 05, 2009

Globalization and steel+

On globalization and steel:

Just one of those things I make note of.  Via the Cleveland Plain Dealer today, Russian steel coming into the country via the port in Cleveland making its way to a finishing plant in Western PA.  The curious thing is the story is about the jobs the port gets by bringing in the steel.  The 80's really are a lifetime ago aren't they?  Back then the headlines were all about the jobs produced by bringing in steel from other countries.   Not.

But with G20 media attention on the burgh already clicking up,  here is a factoid of note that I have been giving out. Primary metals employment alone in the Pittsburgh SMSA then defined in 1980: 86,298.   Primary metals employment today in the MSA: 12K.  

On Real Estate and Homewood

If you really ask my opinion on what the future of local media will look like I would say look at the focused hyper-local news that is Elwin Green's My Homewood Blog at the PG.  I'm serious about that, but I do have to poke at his post yesterday about how Homewood real estate values are surging because they are showing a median value increase from $8,200 to 10K over the previous year... a remarkable 22% increase in a down economy.

I mean... it's certainly better news than a median price that drops below $8K per parcel, but at these levels you are talking about statistical noise.  Transaction costs and other factors mean there really are not market transactions for prices much below $10K no matter so to infer much from price movements in that range is overinterpretation at best.  So I hope Homewood real estate values are stabilizing, but Elwin's imploring folks to 'buy while still affordable' is scary advice when it comes to real estate.. no matter how affordable. I think lots of folks, especially out of towner's, were thinking that way a few years ago. 

Maybe there is something to write about politics.

I've been avoiding anything specific on local politics, like the mayoral race, because there hasn't been much to say anyway. The G20-apalooza is going to blot it out of the media cycle until October anyway.  But you know, the PG might get my $3.99 if what Vannevar says is true.  I wonder if he is pulling our leg though?  True or not, if PittGirl had actually gotten on the ballot it might have been an interesting factor to watch. My only prediction would have been that she would have gotten more votes than Josh Pollack.


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