I follow California`s mounting bad news daily. And I cross my fingers
that all my friends and former
Lodi Unified School District colleagues will
keep their jobs even though the state`s budget
crisis makes that unlikely.
Pittsburgh, on the other hand, has proven recession-proof. As long as
that economic pattern continues, I pride myself on
having made the right decision to get out of California
while the getting was good.
What Business Week discovered is that
such as California, Florida, and Nevada that are buried
under a growing mass of foreclosures will be the most
devastated by the prolonged financial crisis. Cities
New York and
Chicago that had large numbers of now vanished
financial sector jobs, as well as manufacturing towns
Detroit that suffer from weak sales of cars and
other durable goods, will feel the most pain.
Once a steel town, Pittsburgh, now employs people in varied fields such
as biomedical, health, and education. None of those
suffered serious downturns. Two of Pittsburgh`s major
employers are the
University of Pittsburgh and the
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Another similar study, this one by MSN Money, also recommended
Pittsburgh as one of the seven most recession-proof
cities for retirees.
Following the flock of snowbirds to warmer climes may
seem like the best way to spend one`s golden years. But
it may not be the smartest, especially during a weak
Warren R. Bland, the author of Retire in Style: 60 Outstanding Places Across the USA and Canada
warns that "A retiree always needs to be
careful about where he chooses to spend retirement, but
with economic conditions changing so quickly it`s even
more important to make a good choice."
Accordingly, Bland observes that not all places are
created equal when it comes to weathering economic woes
current real-estate slump, credit crunch and
shrinking job market. Retirees who move to the wrong
city could suffer serious consequences.
Without a strong local economy, there`s less money for
social services, police patrols and infrastructure
repair. Witness, for example,
Lodi`s recent municipal budget strains. [With
a Shrinking Budget, Lodi Animal Shelter Struggles During
Peak Hours, by Maggie Creamer, Lodi
News-Sentinel, March 10, 2008]
Although the weather may not be as good as California`s,
states like Pennsylvania with a track record of slow,
steady economic growth and
home price appreciation are ones that offer the
safest haven. These same places are also likely to
rebound more quickly when nationwide economic conditions
Pittsburgh`s cost of living is 5 percent lower than
lower than the national average. And although the median
sales price of existing homes fell in the northeast, the
significantly less precipitous than it was on the
What it all adds up to is that in the eyes of
professionals who study metropolitan areas, Pittsburgh
ranks as one of the nation`s best places to live.
In fact, in 2007 David Savageau, who has been compiling
the Places Rated Almanac
1981, named Pittsburgh “America`s Most Livable City”.
Rated `Most Livable` Once Again, by Dan Majors,
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 26, 2007]
Using the guidelines established by
Rand-McNally (which previously authored the study)
Savageau applies the same formula to rate the 379
metropolitan areas he surveys. He analyzes nine
categories: housing affordability (cost of living),
transportation, jobs, education, climate, crime, health
recreation, and ambience (museums, performing arts,
restaurants and historical districts).
Pittsburgh is the only city to finish in the top twenty
in each of the seven previous editors of the "Places
To fully understand how a grand a city Pittsburgh is,
consider that it overcame its horrible 135th
place weather ranking to finish on the top of Savageau`s
Pittsburgh`s climate is awful. But everything else
about it is great.
As I remind doubters, weather is only one determinate in
is a California native who recently fled the state
because of over-immigration, over-population and a
rapidly deteriorating quality of life. He has moved to
Pittsburgh, PA where the air is clean and the growth
A long-time instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School,
Guzzardi has been writing a weekly column since 1988. It
currently appears in the