Economy & Business

Economy & Business
8:15 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

Volunteers Increase at Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership

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The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership’s volunteer program increased dramatically in 2012.  The group links the growth to a grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation that facilitated staffing and the purchase of supplies.  

President and CEO Jeremy Waldrup said the number of volunteers increased by 860%, and the number of hours volunteered went up 332%.

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Economy & Business
8:02 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

New Coke Battery Expected to Reduce Emissions from US Steel Clairton Plant

After more than four years of construction, US Steel Corp. welcomed government and labor officials Thursday to officially commission its newest coke battery. C Battery, along with new low-emissions quench towers are expected to reduce emissions from the Mon Valley Works Clairton Plant.

US Steel has invested more than $500 million in the project, which replaces ovens that were more than 50 years old in some cases. Officials say C Battery meets all regulations set by the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Allegheny Department of Health.

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Economy & Business
6:34 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Beer Distributors in PA Irked By Privatization Plans

Governor Tom Corbett’s plan to sell off state liquor stores and allow consumers to buy wine, liquor, and beer from a wider array of retailers is rankling some businesses.

Pennsylvania has more than 1,200 beer distributors and their product is already privatized.

Under the governor’s plan, supermarkets and convenience stores would be able to buy licenses to sell beer.

That’s a scary prospect for Randy King, spokesman for the Malt Beverage Distributors Association of Pennsylvania.

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Economy & Business
8:18 am
Tue January 29, 2013

DEP Expands Its Rebate Program For Alternative Fuel Vehicles

The Department of Environmental Protection is close to reaching a milestone and as a result is offering more rewards to drivers who want to purchase alternative fuel powered cars and trucks.

The Alternative Fuel Vehicle Rebate Program will be extended once it reaches its milestone of awarding 500 rebates of $3,500 for large-battery system plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and battery-electric vehicles.

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Economy & Business
7:27 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Allegheny County Controller: Residents to Overpay Taxes in 2013

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner told reporters Thursday the county property tax rate needs to be further reduced and that county residents will be overpaying on their taxes this year if it is not lowered.

Over the last two weeks, the Controller’s office has been analyzing data looking at how the county has set its millage rate and how tax bills are going to affect county residents.

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Economy & Business
9:00 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

1 in 4 Western PA Business Leaders Plans to Add Jobs

A survey of the state's business leaders indicates confidence has fallen, but in the Pittsburgh region, they remains optimistic.  

The First Niagara Survey of Business Leaders conducted by Siena College Research Institute shows CEO confidence statewide is more negative than it is positive for the first time in four years.  The survey included 715 corporate leaders from various industry sectors in the state including retail, financial, and manufacturing.

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Economy & Business
5:34 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Sewickley-based Esmark Sells Technologies Arm

After being purchased by some of its parent company's largest shareholders, Esmark Technologies will look into building a depot along the Ohio River to house shale equipment.

The Bouchard Group, run by Sewickley-based Esmark Inc. CEO and founder James Bouchard, and Stahlschmidt Incorporated, owned by Esmark’s third largest shareholder, announced the acquisition of the company on Monday.

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Economy & Business
8:01 pm
Mon January 21, 2013

United Way and Allegheny County Offer Free Tax Prep Share Tweet

Low- and middle-income workers will have help filing local, state, and federal taxes this year through the 2013 Free Tax Preparation Campaign.

Angela Reynolds, Director of Programs for Financially Struggling Adults and Families with the United Way, said volunteers will be offering assistance in 11 sites throughout Allegheny County beginning Monday.

She said to qualify for help, people must individually be making  $20,000 or less, or filing jointly $40,000 or less annually.

Reynolds said all scheduling will be done through the 211 phone line.

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Economy & Business
4:03 pm
Mon January 21, 2013

Weekly Wages Rise In Pittsburgh For Third Straight Year

Heads up Pittsburghers—you’re making more money.

According to PittsburghTODAY, average weekly wages in the Pittsburgh region rose by 1.94 percent between the second quarter of 2011 and the second quarter of 2012. The study also noted wages rose, on average, from $875 to $892 a week.

The increase has been a continuing trend for the city--average weekly wages increased by 3.16 percent between 2009 and 2010 and another 3.55 percent between 2010 and 2011.

Doug Heuck, Director of PittsburghTODAY, said Pittsburgh’s unique and diverse economy has helped.

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Economy & Business
9:25 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

PA Unemployment up, Workforce Also Grows

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate crept up a tenth of a percent in December but the state says it’s not as bad as it might seem.  Pennsylvania posted a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate today of 7.9% for December of 2012.

The number is a .1 percent above the national average and .2 percent above the rates seen in Pennsylvania in December 2011. 

However, the rate obscures the fact that the number of jobs in Pennsylvania grew from November to December by nearly 12,000.  The unemployment rate increased because the work force also grew more than 16,000. 

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Economy & Business
7:26 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

Nemacolin Applies for Table Games

Even though the slots casino at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort has not yet opened, management there is already asking the Gaming Control Board to expand its license to include table games.  A hearing on the application will be held February 7th.

By law, a casino operator in Pennsylvania must first be awarded a slots casino license before it can apply for a license to operate table games.  “We are following that rank and order as we speak,” said Nemacolin Manager Chris Plummer. 

Plummer said the plan all along was to open the casino with the table games already in place.

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Economy & Business
7:23 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

MLK Forum Highlights Cost of War

The moral, economic, political, and spiritual consequences of war will be discussed during the forum “The Cost of the Wars on the African American Community."

The event is hosted by the Pittsburgh chapter of Black Voices for Peace, which holds events yearly to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1967 Riverside Speech, in which he announced his opposition to the Vietnam War.

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Economy & Business
7:22 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Regional Home Sales Up in 2012

West Penn Multi-List Inc. recently released 2012 home sales data for the Pittsburgh region showing that sales were up 10% over 2011. George Hackett, President of Coldwell Banker Real Estate Services in Pittsburgh and West Penn Multi-List said people are feeling more confident.

"Just the attitude of people thinking that real estate is better - you know for a long time all you heard was negative stuff - now all you hear is positive stuff, and because of that, that is as encouraging as anything," said Hackett.

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Economy & Business
8:30 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Red Kettle Campaign is $270K Short

Think about walking in or out of a store during the holiday season.  It almost seems incomplete without a bundled-up, bell-ringer standing next to a red, Salvation Army donation basket.

The question is:  keep moving or be charitable.  Western Pennsylvanians did more of the latter in 2012 compared to 2011, but the region's Red Kettle Christmas Campaign still came short of meeting its goal by $270,000.

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Economy & Business
8:52 am
Mon January 14, 2013

Tourism Spending Up in Allegheny County in 2011 – Expected to Continue Upward Push

Visitors to the Pittsburgh area contributed $5.3 billion to the local economy in 2011 (the most recent year for which the study was conducted), according to the Pennsylvania Tourism Office.  Overall spending by visitors to Allegheny County was up 8.9 percent over 2010.

“The money that we are supplying into the local economy is a substantial amount, and that helps to provide government services for people here locally, provided through people that don’t live here,” said Craig Davis, President and CEO of Visit Pittsburgh.

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Economy & Business
8:52 am
Mon January 14, 2013

$350K Grant for Facelift for Downtown Pittsburgh

A grant that's going to a downtown Pittsburgh nonprofit might kick start the area's aesthetic makeover.  Pittsburgh-based Colcom Foundation awarded the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP) with $350,000. PDP decided to use the funds for the Paris to Pittsburgh Facade Grant Program, which provides a 50% matching grant of up to $30,000 to downtown business owners interested in revamping their business' exterior.

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Economy & Business
10:24 am
Sun January 13, 2013

Former 'Occupy Pittsburgh' Park Slated for Spring Reopening

More than ten months after the economic protest group Occupy Pittsburgh abandoned its encampment in a downtown green space, the small park known as Mellon Green is still entirely fenced off to the encircling sidewalks.

According to BNY Mellon spokesman Ron Gruendl, the global financial firm is hoping to reopen its park in the spring.

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Economy & Business
10:24 am
Sun January 13, 2013

From Corn Belt To Main Street: The Drought's Far-Reaching Grasp

The U.S. had its hottest year on record last year. That heat, combined with the relatively dry winter that came before, has brought a historic drought.

From forest fires and low crop yields, to infrastructure and recreation, the drought has been costly, with early estimates putting the cost at between $50 billion and $80 billion.

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Economy & Business
6:24 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board Goes Local

When the subject of wine comes up, it usually has to do with grapes grown on the French Riviera, stateside in southern California, or even along route 79 heading towards Erie.

“[State wineries] are a robust part of the economy,” said Stacy Kriedeman, spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PCLB).  “The commonwealth has more than 150 wineries, according to the Pennsylvania Winery Association, and that infuses more than $2 billion into the economy. So it’s a very valued sector of the agricultural community.”

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Economy & Business
11:03 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Young Bucks Carry on Traditions at the PA Farm Show

The Pennsylvania Farm Show features more than 6,000 animals and many of them were reared and are being exhibited by people not long out of high school.  For many visitors to the farm show, meeting the newest crop of farmers is as exciting as checking out their animals.

Jon Kubala, a 21-year-old from Adams County, sits calmly on the hindquarters of a huge Texas longhorn steer.  It only looks dangerous to an outsider but not to the human who knows the animal best.

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Economy & Business
8:48 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

$1.2M Low Interest Loan Heads to Westmoreland County

The Regional Industrial Development Council (R.I.D.C.) is hopeful a new 1.24 million dollar loan from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development will help move the nearly empty former Sony plant in Westmoreland County back to full capacity. 

The funds come with a 1.5 percent interest rate and R.I.D.C President Don Smith said it will be used to build out another 26,000 square feet of space for Dai Nippon Printing (DNP), which wants to expand its operations. 

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Economy & Business
7:18 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Cambria County Wind Farm Operating at Partial Capacity

Inspectors are slowly putting turbines that make up the Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm in Blair and Cambria Counties back on line after a large section of a blade fell from one of the generators. The blade failed Friday night.

The facility is managed by Infigen Energy, which is the Dallas-based U.S subsidiary of an Australian company. Infigen Vice President of U.S. Commercial Operations David Smith said there had been some “winter weather” in the area before the blade failed but it had passed.

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Economy & Business
8:31 am
Tue January 8, 2013

Gas Prices Up in Pittsburgh, Hold Steady Nationwide

Looking for a cheaper tank of gas? You might want to fill up in the Rockies.

Average gas prices in Pittsburgh rose two cents in the last week, while lower prices are outside the Northeast, according to GasBuddy.com.

Patrick DeHann, the website’s Senior Petroleum Analyst, said the average Pittsburgh price for gas is $3.51 a gallon, compared to the national average of $3.26.

He said the increase is due to oil prices making advances and tight oil reserves.

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Economy & Business
8:23 am
Mon January 7, 2013

State Reports Savings, but Minuscule Compared to Budget

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A new state department is reporting it saved $84 million for the commonwealth since March.

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Economy & Business
2:23 am
Fri January 4, 2013

Butter Sculpture Shows PA Agriculture Pride

Another year, another Pennsylvania Farm Show: the butter sculpture has been unveiled at the 97th annual agricultural extravaganza beginning Saturday.

The 2013 butter sculpture is an array of Pennsylvania-produced agricultural products – among them, chicken, wood, wine, and mushrooms.

Dairy Princess Maria Jo Noble of Bradford County was on-hand for the unveiling, but she didn’t get an early look at what one presenter called the “buttery masterpiece.”

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