Area at a glance

The Mon Yough Area Chamber of Commerce serves the businesses along the Monongahela River and in the Turtle Creek Valley communities. From West Jefferson in the west and White Oak in the east, our region spans a long stretch of land that includes a wide variety of over 30 municipalities, from small urban cities to rural farmland. This is a hardy middle-class region with a rich history of heavy industry and steel production. Although several steel mills are still quite productive, the region has now changed to include more diversified businesses with a focus on service, healthcare and light manufacturing. Over 90% of businesses in Southwestern Pennsylvania have fewer than 50 employees. The decline in the industrial base of the area has made available quality sites for business development and expansion.

The region we serve is a beautiful, scenic area following the Monongahela River, with its high banks and panoramic views. Additionally, the Monongahela and Youghiogheny river valleys boast of continuously expanding bike and walking trails, marinas, golf courses, amusement parks and many opportunities for water sports.

Area Economy

Allegheny County Top 50 Employers
Major Industries and Commercial Activity
The southwestern Pennsylvania region, especially the city of Pittsburgh, showed great resiliency and resourcefulness in shifting from an industrial economy to one based on health care, research, hospitality and tourism through the 1990s. Nevertheless, the local economy mirrored the national recession for various reasons following the events of September 11, 2001. U.S. Airways, a major employer, suffered serious losses from decreased travel due to fear or terrorism and the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) epidemic. Although U.S. Airways came out of bankruptcy in 2003, it cut more than 300 jobs and reduced service by about a third in 2004; Pittsburgh, which had once been the airline's largest hub, was reduced in status and Pittsburgh International Airport lost jobs to U.S. Airway's other hub cities such as Philadelphia and Charlotte. In January 2005, Southwest Airlines, the nation's largest discount carrier and sixth largest airline, announced it would start service at Pittsburgh International Airport in May, helping to fill the gap left by the loss of leases by U.S. Airways. Local officials are also trying to lure JetBlue, Frontier, and Spirit.

Losses in manufacturing jobs were not completely replaced by high tech jobs, as the latter account for only about six percent of jobs in the Pittsburgh MSA. Another reason for loss of jobs and the region's general downward economic trend is that Pittsburgh has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the nation. Not only do high taxes increase the cost of production for companies, they also discourage new businesses from locating in the area and may force established businesses to relocate to places with more favorable tax structures. The City of Pittsburgh was forced to file for financially distressed status under Pennsylvania's Act 47 in December of 2004. In the wake of this alternative to bankruptcy, the state Department of Community and Economic Development appointed a recovery team to compile a five year plan for economic recovery for the city. Financial analysts are cautiously optimistic as the unemployment rate seems to have peaked at 6.8 percent in January of 2003 and has come back down to 4.8 percent in April of 2005.

By far, the largest employment sector for the Pittsburgh area is in health, educational, and social services. Though heavy manufacturing continues to play a part, it employs only 12.3 percent of the work force as of May 2005. Health care, construction, and education all added jobs in 2004. Financial analysts predict continued modest growth in 2005, with finance, business services, and health care again providing key support. Research is now the third largest industry; the Pittsburgh area is home to 150 laboratories and over 7,500 scientists and engineers. Service, hospitality, and tourism jobs are growing fast as well, adding more than 10,000 jobs in these sectors since 1994, and 5,400 jobs in May 2005 alone. Education and state government employment declined slightly during that same month.

Film making is another emerging industry. Major motion pictures made in Pittsburgh include the original Angels in the Outfield, Night of the Living Dead, The Deer Hunter, Flashdance, Gung Ho, The Silence of the Lambs, Lorenzo's Oil, Hoffa, Groundhog Day, The Wonder Boys, and The Mothman Prophecies. Overall, the size of the labor force and the number of jobs, as defined by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, have both increased during the first half of 2005 resulting in a slightly lowered unemployment rate.

Items and goods produced: fabricated metal products, primary metals, glass products, machinery, food and related products, medical equipment, chemicals, plastics, electronics, software, robotics

Education Support and Accountability

Arts, Culture, and Fun

Living along-and near-the Rivers

Information & Resources

Starting a Business





Public School Systems

Private Schools


Helpful Sites