Economy & Business

90.5 WESA explores the regional economy, as well as covering the issues that ordinary Pittsburghers face in their working lives.

Tariffs Lift Hopes For Jobs In American Mill Towns

Mar 14, 2018
Mark Duncan / AP

In the heart of America's diminished steel country, support for President Donald Trump's tariffs on imports is broad and bipartisan. It is tempered, though, by a strong streak of realism.

Scott Dalton / AP

Dick's Sporting Goods on Tuesday reported disappointing holiday sales numbers in part due to weak demand for one-time hot brands like Under Armour.

The company's CEO also said recent changes to its firearm policies, ending the sale of guns to anyone under 21, will hurt future sales and may cause fewer shoppers to come to its stores.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Starting April 1, Amazon will start collecting sales tax on all purchases made by customers from Pennsylvania.

Allyson Ruggieri / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania's unemployment rate remained stable in January, even as employment and payrolls crept down slightly.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Fears of a trade war were among the reactions to President Trump’s signing Thursday of a proclamation ordering new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. 

Richard Drew / AP

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said Wednesday that Amazon leaders had not yet requested a formal visit to the city.

An Amazon spokesperson said Wednesday that the company is working with each of remaining 20 cities to “dive deeper on their proposals and share additional information about the company’s plans.”

The spokesperson confirmed that Amazon would visit each location.

On a recent sunny afternoon at a solar farm outside Philadelphia, Pa., commercial drone pilots Tony Zimlich and Gunner Goldie are preparing for flight.

Dressed in hard hats and matching yellow vests, they run through a series of safety and equipment checks, and survey the surrounding terrain and airspace, before picking up what looks like a pair of oversized video game controllers. Then, with a streak of beeps and whirs, their drone — about the size of a milk crate — rises steadily into the sky above.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

A report released Wednesday claims the wages Giant Eagle pays employees leave thousands in poverty and dependent on public assistance.

Nam Y. Huh / AP

Dick's Sporting Goods will immediately stop selling assault-style rifles and ban the sale of all guns to anyone under 21, according to CEO Edward Stack.

The announcement from the nationwide store chain came as students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, returned to class for the first time since a teenager killed 17 students and educators with an AR-15 rifle two weeks ago.

Rich Pedroncelli / AP

Friday is the deadline for city leaders to either comply with or appeal to the Court of Common Pleas an order from the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records to reveal details of its application to have Amazon establish its second headquarters in Pittsburgh. 

Richard Drew / AP

Amazon has announced plans to create another 125 technology jobs in Pittsburgh, more than doubling its current tech workforce in the city.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

An Australian investment firm has acquired The Mall at Robinson, one of the larger retail venues in the Pittsburgh area.

Cleveland-based Forest City Realty Trust said Monday that it had completed the previously announced sale of its interest in the mall to QIC.

Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed. QIC already had an ownership stake in the mall, which Allegheny County recently reassessed at $89 million.

90.5 WESA

Last month, the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records ordered the City of Pittsburgh to release its bid to become Amazon's second headquarters.

Mayor Bill Peduto said at the time he'd fight the ruling, even if it meant going to court. 

Ronald Woan / Flickr

According to a CNN report from last summer, 44 million Americans make money outside their regular job with a "side hustle." Carnegie Library's new Side Hustle lecture series, which launches this week, will highlight different options for joining the gig economy each week.

Mini-Casino Headed For Lawrence County, Along Ohio Border

Feb 8, 2018
Julie Jacobson / AP, file

The family that owns northeastern Pennsylvania's Mount Airy Casino Resort won the rights Thursday to build a mini-casino on the opposite side of the state along the Ohio border, an area that has tried for years to land a casino project.

Scott Dalton / AP

Fly, Dick's Sporting Goods, fly.

The unlikely win for the Philadelphia Eagles over the New England Patriots in Sunday's Super Bowl LII match up could be a windfall for the sporting goods retailer, despite a headquarters squarely placed in Steeler Nation.

The same sales bump took place after the Chicago Cubs won their first World Series in more than a century.

Analysts with J.P. Morgan wrote Wednesday, "From a similarities perspective, both the Cubs and Eagles have rabid fans that have been starved for a championship for decades."

Ted S. Warren / AP

Attorneys general in over a dozen states oppose a federal Department of Labor proposal to let employers control the tips of some hourly employees.

The attorneys general filed comments in opposition with federal officials on Monday.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan called the proposal that rescinds a 2011 rule "outrageous" and likened it to wage theft.

The plan applies to employees paid the federal minimum wage, which is $7.75 an hour. In Illinois, about half a million workers could be affected.

The U.S. added 200,000 jobs in January, continuing the trend of steady job growth for another month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday.

That means the economy has now added jobs for 88 months in a row. And, significantly, wages are on the rise, too.

Average hourly earnings rose by 9 cents to $26.74, with a year-over-year growth of 2.9 percent — the highest rate of growth the BLS recorded since June 2009.

The unemployment rate held steady at 4.1 percent.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Pittsburgh macroeconomist Marvin Goodfriend is still awaiting official Senate confirmation this week to help lead the nation's central banking system.

Julie Jacobson / AP, file

Southwestern Pennsylvania will soon have another casino.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said Wednesday he wants fully unmanned taxis serving paying customers by mid-2019. 

Allyson Ruggieri / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania's unemployment rate crept up in December, even as payrolls hit a record high.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Alcoa Corp. said Wednesday that its fourth-quarter loss widened to $196 million as it continued working to streamline operations.

The Pittsburgh-based company said it had a loss of $1.06 per share. That compares with a loss of $125 million, or 68 cents per share, at the end of 2016.

Alcoa said it would have earned $1.04 per share without accounting charges for restructuring.

The results fell short of the $1.23 per share that the six analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research expected.

Seth Wenig / AP

The state Department of Labor made an economic case for establishing a paid family and medical leave fund in a report issued with nine partner organizations on Wednesday.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

The online fundraiser "Give Big Pittsburgh" was billed as a natural follow-up to the Pittsburgh Foundation's annual Day of Giving, which provided one-day funding matches to donations benefiting local nonprofits, but mixed messages timed with Giving Tuesday may have contributed to less than stellar returns.

John Minchillo / 90.5 WESA

The future of work will hinge on machine learning technology, a type of artificial intelligence that improves performance with experience, according to Carnegie Mellon University's Tom Mitchell. 

Trump To Tap McConnell Aide For Appalachian Post

Jan 5, 2018
Jeff Gentner / AP

President Donald Trump intends to tap a member of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's staff to serve as federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Westinghouse Electric, the U.S. nuclear unit of embattled Japanese electronics giant Toshiba, has been acquired in a deal valued at about out $4.6 billion.

Westinghouse Electric Co. declared bankruptcy protection early last year, leaving a number of nuclear projects in limbo.

The acquisition by Brookfield Business Partners LP on Thursday comes one day after an agreement tying up loose ends from two failed nuclear reactors in South Carolina.

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA

In an effort to keep more Pittsburgh college grads in the region, a state initiative is offering tax credits to startups to make wages more competitive.

Pennsylvanians Get A New Way To Celebrate: More Fireworks

Dec 28, 2017
John Heller / AP

 This week is the first big holiday sales season in Pennsylvania under a new state law that allows residents to buy and use the full line of fireworks that comply with federal requirements for consumers.