Economy & Business

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

Visitors to this year’s farm show can play detective at various stations providing information and hands-on lessons.

“Investigating about the roles of bees in food production, measuring the height of horses or learning how sap becomes maple syrup,” said Logan Hall, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture spokesman.

Chances are the average Pittsburgher won’t buy six geese-a-laying for a loved one this year. But if you choose to, the price has increased drastically since last year.

PNC Wealth Management has for the the last 31 years calculated the price of the 12 gifts of Christmas from the popular song. The department puts a price tag on the unusual modern-day gifts with help from the National Aviary, pet chains, farms and a national jewelry chain. The sources remain consistent yearly, but like the Consumer Price Index, prices fluctuate due to market or business climate changes.

Chris Squier / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh continues to have lower levels of unemployment than most similarly sized cities such as: Indianapolis, Kansas City and Cleveland. 

The Steel City weathered the economic crisis of 2008 better than just about any of these cities and its low unemployment and housing prices have drawn residents back to the area. But will this trend continue?

Mark Price, a labor economist with the left-leaning Keystone Research Center in Harrisburg, discusses Pittsburgh’s prospects going forward. In particular, he explains that economic recovery has not yet affected those in blue collar jobs. 

“Two sectors that are going to be important for Pittsburgh, two sectors that have not performed well at all for obvious reasons would be manufacturing and construction… that reflects the deepness and the nature of the recession.”

Overall, however, Price does feel good about the economy going forward.

Sarahnaut / Flickr

In today’s competitive marketplace, companies are always looking for the next overlooked demographic to exploit. Some past examples include Young Upward Professionals (Yuppies) and couples known as DINKs (double income no kids).

The next overlooked demographic to get its own nickname are PANKs, which stands for: Professional Aunts, No Kids. 

Business contributor Rebecca Harris explains the PANK concept and their effect on the marketplace.

She says this group consists of child-loving women who do not have children of their own, and no, they're not spinsters

A report released by the Economic Policy Institute found 122,600 jobs don’t exist in Pennsylvania because of unbalanced trade with China.

Nationally, the trade deficit cost 3.2 million jobs between the same period of 2001 and 2013.

Most U.S. trade comes from manufactured goods rather than agricultural and war materials such as oil or services such as health care, therefore most job creation or loss dependent on trade is manufacturing.

Courtesy Oxford Development Company

More luxury apartments are coming to Pittsburgh, this time in the Strip District.

Oxford Development Company on Tuesday held a ceremonial groundbreaking for the residential and mixed-use development dubbed Three Crossings.

Vice President of Business Development Shawn Fox said the name is a nod to the Strip District’s industrial past and its residential future.

The Business of Food Banks

Dec 9, 2014
Nancy Furbee / Chatham Center for Women's Entrepreneurship

The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank's mission is to feed people in need and mobilize our community to eliminate hunger.

Their vision is for a hunger-free southwestern Pennsylvania. This week contributor Rebecca Harris looks at food banks in the region.

If legislation up for debate Wednesday goes through, you could see parking meter prices in Pittsburgh fluctuate depending on the time of day.

Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak has introduced a bill that would allow for dynamic prices for parking meters in certain neighborhoods starting in 2015.

“It adjusts the price of parking meters based on parking supply and demand,” Rudiak said. “So it will actually change the price based on how close one is parked say to the main street business district or how far.”

David Haines / Flickr

Black Friday sales are down and Cyber Monday sales continue to increase. So, what is the biggest shopping day of the year? And what is trending in Pittsburgh?

We'll talk with Duquesne University marketing professor Audrey Guskey about the ways that times are changing for retailers. 

Zach Frailey / Flickr

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development.

The documentary "We Built This City: How the Allegheny Conference Remade Pittsburgh" chronicles the private-public partnership that transformed the city and the region.

The documentary was directed by our guest Michael DiLauro. We'll also talk with Bill Flanagan Executive Vice President of the Allegheny Conference talks about the past, present and future of the partnerships and the communities they serve.

Pittsburgh’s newest film studio is open for business – sort of.

Studio C, located in a 120,000-square-foot facility in Robinson, opened its doors to location scouts and studio representatives Monday as part of a soft opening, according to Cyndi Casteel, vice president of business development.

The studio won’t be open to the public for at least another week due to construction, but Casteel said the preliminary opening gives scouts a chance to plan their schedules for the upcoming year.

Wally Gobetz / Flickr

  

Wall Street analysts are noting a growing trend of companies integrating sustainability and corporate social responsibility, known as CSR, with their traditional financial reporting.

A number of Pittsburgh companies are part of that trend. Joining us to address how this is making a difference in Pittsburgh are Lauren M. Odrechowski, Corporate Social Responsibility Specialist with BNY Mellon and Matt Mehalik, program manager for Sustainable Pittsburgh.

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, has long been perceived as the highest grossing shopping day of the year, when customers flock to shopping malls and department stores across the nation in search of deals and when shops' finances go from the red to the black.

But Audrey Guskey, associate professor of marketing at the Palumbo Donahue School of Business at Duquesne University, said times have changed.

Brook Ward / flickr

The holidays are rapidly approaching, so of course you’ve definitely started your gift shopping, right?

Never you fear, as the shopping season kicks off on Black Friday we’ve put together a list of the best local pop-up markets as part of our New to the ‘Burgh series. From the artisanal to the seasonal, to the brand-spanking-new, here’s a rundown of the most interesting markets gracing the Steel City with their presence over the next few months.

I Made It! Market

What is the Future of the Shopping Mall?

Nov 26, 2014
John Good / Flickr

We’re entering the holiday shopping season which is make or break time for many retailers. 

It wasn’t too long ago shopping malls were the center of shopping activity.

However, in recent years malls have been in decline. Here to look at the change in our shopping habits and address the future of malls is Brian O’Roark, a professor of economics at Robert Morris University.

Career Advice for Older Workers

Nov 26, 2014
Dennis Matheson / Flickr

According to Gallup, workers aged 65 and older have seen a 3 point increase in their participation in the job market.

Fueled by a desire to keep working and the necessity to buttress their nest eggs, Boomers and Silent Generation workers are reframing our thoughts about work in retirement. Here to discuss how older workers can thrive on the job is independent career consultant, Sasha King.

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

United States Steel Corp. CEO Mario Longhi said he took Monday’s sunshine as a good omen for his company’s new headquarters on the site of the old Civic Arena.

Longhi joined Penguins CEO David Morehouse, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto to make the announcement at Consol Energy Center on Monday.

Longhi said the five-story, 268,000 square foot building will serve as the cornerstone of revitalization of both US Steel and the surrounding Hill District community.

Pennsylvania Unemployment Dips in October

Nov 21, 2014

More people were working in Pennsylvania in October than had been since August of 2008. 

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry released its seasonally adjusted employment situation report for October 2014 on Friday, pegging total nonfarm jobs in the commonwealth at 5,802,300. That is up 12,600 jobs since September.

“We had a tremendous amount of growth,” said Sara Goulet, state Department of Labor and Industry spokeswoman.

Light Up Night Expected To Light Up Cash Registers

Nov 21, 2014

With an estimated 850,000 holiday celebrants heading into downtown Pittsburgh this weekend for Light Up Night and the carryover events Saturday, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership is hoping to generate as much revenue as possible for its members. 

Duquesne University marketing professor Audrey Gusky predicts shoppers will leave about $20 million downtown this weekend, which is much more than it has been in the past.

“If you can believe it this is the 54th annual Light Up Night, and it has really blossomed and changed over the last 50 years,” Guskey said.

Flickr user Jorge Castro

An administrative law judge with the National Labor Relations Board on Friday issued his decision regarding allegations of labor violations at UPMC. The 123-page document recounts the minute details that led to the discipline or firing of eight workers at UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside.

Global Entrepreneurship Week

Nov 18, 2014
Rebecca Harris / Chatham Center for Women's Entrepreneurship

 

Entrepreneurship has become the new American dream. However, this business concept isn’t strictly American, as evidenced by this week being designated Global Entrepreneurship Week. Contributor Rebecca Harris joins us for a look at the worldwide growth in entrepreneurship.

Social Security cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) will no longer disqualify Pennsylvanians from receiving a tax rebate if their annual earnings were pushed over the income ceiling as a result.

The Property Tax and Rent Rebate Program, which gives money to many older and disabled Pennsylvanians on a fixed income, had to adjust to COLAs or else individuals would be unfairly disqualified, according to Pennsylvania Department of Revenue spokeswoman Elizabeth Brassell.

The ride-sharing service Uber has won conditional license approval across the state, including Pittsburgh.

The two-year experimental service will only go into effect if Uber meets a number of conditions laid out by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission within the next 30 days. One of those conditions is that Uber drivers get insurance coverage for all three stages of their customer interactions: making themselves available via the Uber app, connecting with a passenger and dropping the passenger off at his or her destination.

Those hoping to lure a $2.5 billion ethane cracker plant to Beaver County got a boost this week when Shell Chemical LP exercised its land-option on an industrial site near Monaca.

The company has been evaluating the land owned by the Horsehead Corporation for more than two years.  If built, the company expects to use the facility to process gas pulled from the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations into ethylene. Ethylene is used as a building block for a long list of every-day products including drink bottles, detergents and adhesives.

Neighborhood Business: Greenfield

Nov 4, 2014
KitAy / Flickr

  

Cities are made up of a collection of neighborhoods with unique features and characteristics. Beginning today, on the first Tuesday of each month, business contributor Rebecca Harris will focus on one of the city’s neighborhoods. Today's focus is on Greenfield.

Most people are expected to stay at a job for about four and a half years, and yet millennials have been labeled as job hoppers, for leaving jobs much sooner. A new survey conducted by job placement company, Express Employment Professionals, found that recent college graduates stay in their first jobs on average for 7 months to a year.

Energy, Gas Industries Focus of CCAC Partnership

Oct 31, 2014

In an effort to attract more people to jobs in the oil and gas industries, the Community College of Allegheny County has partnered with the Energy Innovation Center (EIC) to provide hands-on training and workforce development programs.   

Educational programs will be offered at the new EIC Institute in the Hill District, CCAC president Quintin Bullock said. The Center will open in January.  The collaboration between CCAC and the center officially began this week with the signing of a memorandum.

The Business of Artisanal Cheese

Oct 28, 2014
Alex Proimos / Flickr

Artisanal cheese is becoming the latest food trend. Much like craft beers, people are using local ingredients to make their own cheeses. This week contributor Rebecca Harris looks at the business of artisanal cheese.

Sasha King Offers Tips for Crafting a Riveting Resume

Oct 27, 2014
Flazingo.com / Flickr

While there are new methods for job searching in today’s economy two things remain constant. You need a good cover letter and resume. This month independent career consultant Sasha King is here with tips for creating riveting resumes that will get you noticed.

Rezscore.com

Resunate.com

For more on resume building, read Sasha's article here

 

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh has gotten a lot of attention from Hollywood in recent years, with several high-profile films and television shows being shot here. With the help of a new film complex in McKees Rocks, the hope is that the industry will continue to expand.

“We announce the groundbreaking for the region’s first built, newly constructed, multi-stage complex for production of TV shows, commercials and feature films,” said Mike Dolan, president of Island Studios.

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