Economy & Business

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

Allyson Ruggieri / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania's unemployment rate dropped in October to a new post-recession low, although the labor force, employment and payrolls all shrank during the month.

90.5 WESA

During his yearly budget address Monday, Mayor Bill Peduto said the city has been diligent about fiscal responsibility and is ready to retake control of its finances. 

Matt Rourke / AP

The constitutional amendment that Pennsylvania voters approved Tuesday could eventually lead to reductions in the state's heavy dependence on property taxes, but it is only a tiny step in that direction.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

The Republican-sponsored tax code overhaul in Congress faces an uncertain path, and will likely see some major changes as it makes its way toward legalization.

But nevertheless, small business owners and advocates in Pennsylvania are trying to figure out how its current iteration would affect them—and some have mixed feelings.

The more than 400-page bill of sweeping tax code changes has been touted as “pro-business” by its House GOP authors and the Trump administration.

And it would indeed slash the corporate tax rate by 15 percent.

Matt Rourke / AP

The state Treasury has authorized a major $1.8 billion loan to keep Pennsylvania's general fund from running out of money.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are considered top contenders for Amazon’s second North American headquarters in a recent nationwide analysis by Moody’s. The company promised 50,000 jobs and $5 billion for investment for its HQ2 project.

Pennsylvania's unemployment rate dropped in September for the second straight month, as payrolls hit a record high and the labor force tightened again.

Richard Drew / AP

The city of Pittsburgh will officially throw its hat into the ring Wednesday as a contender for Amazon's second North American headquarters, along with what could be as many as 200 other cities.

Megan Farmer / KUOW


  Pittsburgh is among the cities competing to land Amazon’s second headquarters and that has many people wondering what could happen if the company actually picked their city. To get some answers, we turned to our fellow NPR member station, KUOW in Seattle, home to Amazon’s first headquarters.

dnesday, Sept. 27, 2017, in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson / AP

Amazon benefited from more than $1.2 billion in incentives across the country, according to research published Wednesday by American City Business Journals

The company employs an estimated 10,000 people across 15 facilities in Pennsylvania, drawing nearly $25 million in known subsidies statewide. Bids for Amazon’s second North American headquarters HQ2 are due next week.

Danny Navarro / flickr

Officials say a glass company manufacturing plant near Pittsburgh could be closed next summer, affecting almost 200 workers.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

*UPDATED: Oct. 4, 2017 at 4:26 p.m.

Pennsylvania manufacturing leaders are hoping that maker spaces can be the entry point for future workers.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta was in Pittsburgh Wednesday morning to speak at the Shale Insight Conference and tour the Carpenters' Union Training Center. 

Matt Rourke / AP

As Pennsylvania contends with a months-late budget and recently-downgraded bond rating, it’s also working hard to entice Amazon to set up a secondary headquarters in one of its cities.

frankieleon / flickr

Frontier Airlines is continuing to scale back its presence at Pittsburgh International Airport.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Frontier has opted to drop its daily flight to Las Vegas from the Pittsburgh International by Oct. 4. Frontier's decision comes after the airline ended flights to Chicago and Atlanta last year.

The Denver-based airline will keep seasonal flights to Denver and Orlando.

Associated Press

Pittsburgh's proposal to become the location of Amazon's second headquarters includes a full-time team of up to 20 people, Mayor Bill Peduto said Monday.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Pennsylvania's unemployment rate crept downward in July, even as payrolls and the labor force shrank.

The state Department of Labor and Industry said Friday that Pennsylvania's unemployment rate was 4.9 percent last month, down one-tenth of a percentage point. The national rate moved up slightly in August to 4.4 percent.

A survey of households survey found that Pennsylvania's civilian labor force, employment and unemployment all shrank in August for the second straight month.

Ted S. Warren / AP, File

An announcement last week by online retail giant Amazon that it was looking for a second North American headquarters has caused a stir in Pittsburgh and other cities across the country. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto immediately tweeted the city would pursue Amazon.

Municipal Distress Getting Worse In Pennsylvania, According To New Data

Sep 13, 2017
Pennsylvania Economy League

The Pennsylvania Economy League released a report on Tuesday showing predictions in its last study have borne out.

That's not a good thing.

The league warned in 2007 that the struggles of distressed communities would worsen where they already existed and emerge anew elsewhere — unless local government codes were updated by state lawmakers.

Pennsylvania Vape Tax Brings In Millions, But Leads To Closure Of 100-Plus Businesses

Sep 12, 2017
Rich Pedroncelli / AP

Myk Londino didn't expect e-cigarettes to lead him to his life's work. He just wanted to quit smoking, and nothing else had worked for him. But after vaping helped him ditch cigarettes, he fell in love, as he put it. He decided to dedicate his time to helping others switch from cigs to their electronic cousins.

Three years later, the 29-year-old is manager of Vape O2 in Philadelphia and runs two vape-related companies, one on his own and one with friends.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

The House Republican plan to fill a $2.2 billion shortfall in the Pennsylvania budget is looking to take more than $350 million from state-supported transit.

Elaine Thompson / AP

Pittsburgh plans to compete for the new site of AmazonHQ2, a second headquarters location announced by the Seattle-based company early Thursday.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The Airmall at Pittsburgh International Airport opened Tuesday to daily non-passengers for the first time since security was tightened at airports nationwide after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

"It's nice, it's for the economy to be able to come here and shop," said Elizabeth Township resident Shelli Ruggier, who came to pick up her grandson from a terminal. "We're just happy we can get to a gate and greet family members, rather than them getting off and not knowing anybody."

Struggling To Stay In Appalachia After Coal Layoffs

Sep 5, 2017
Reid Frazier / Allegheny Front

 


Dave Hathaway is a coal miner in Greene County, in the very southwestern corner of Pennsylvania. Apart from a brief stint living in Colorado as a child, he’s lived his whole life there, and he’s never really thought much about leaving.

Paul Sancya / AP

Pennsylvania's minimum wage hasn't risen from $7.25 per hour since 2013. It's the only state in the region that hasn't seen an increase in three and a half years, and where the minimum wage is still under eight dollars.

Mark Humphrey / AP

The devastation from Tropical Storm Harvey along the Gulf Coast is starting to have a ripple effect on gasoline prices across the country.

The storm has taken about 14 percent the nation’s refining capacity offline. The national average price of gasoline has started to rise, as major refineries in the Houston area have shut down.

Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst with the online price-tracking firm GasBuddy, said Pennsylvania’s average of $2.55 per gallon will probably go up by about 10 to 15 cents.

John Miller / 90.5 WESA

One of President Trump’s signature campaign speeches was at a scrap aluminum plant near Pittsburgh in January 2016.

“We are going to put American steel -- and aluminum – back into the backbone of our country,” he said at the speech in Monessen, Pa. “This alone will create massive numbers of jobs, high-paying jobs.”


Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The Airmall at Pittsburgh International Airport is accessible to non-flyers for the first time since stringent security was enacted following the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

The Airmall, a collection of shops and restaurants, has been off-limits to all but ticketed passengers except on special occasions.

When the airport opened in 1992, the Airmall was touted as a major feature and attracted non-flying shoppers, because prices in its businesses are audited to ensure they're not higher than those charged by similar outlets elsewhere in Allegheny County.

John Miller / 90.5 WESA

Amid Uber's self-driving cars and vans ferrying bread and vegetables to trendy restaurants, a plaque on Smallman Street in the Strip District celebrates the invention of the modern process used to make aluminum by a young engineer named Charles Martin Hall. 

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard said Wednesday he supports a NAFTA rewrite but he's concerned President Donald Trump's closed-door meetings won't take workers' needs into consideration.

"During the re-negotiations, it's really important and urgent that workers' voices be heard so the labor movement in the United States, Canada and Mexico will work together to advance workers rights," Gerard said.

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