Economy & Business

Economy & Business news from 90.5 WESA.

Keeping Pittsburgh Warm and Fed on Thanksgiving

Nov 21, 2012 Of Life Wrap_Emily Farah_SOC.mp3

Light of Life will serve Thanksgiving dinner at its North Side mission on E. North Avenue Thursday from 1-6p.m.  to anyone in the community who wants to have a meal and will deliver meals to the elderly and disabled at 13 high rises in Pittsburgh.

More than 70% of tri-state area citizens see Marcellus Shale drilling as a chance to give the local economy a boost, but eight in ten residents believe drilling poses at least a slight threat to the environment and public health.

Turkey Dinner for the Underprivledged

Nov 19, 2012

Unemployment Agency: $300 million Hard to Track

Nov 19, 2012

Limited employer engagement, failure to identify and share best practices, and programs operating below capacity are only a few factors causing problems for those trying to help the unemployed in southwestern Pennsylvania.  The Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board (WIB) is conducting a survey of agencies that help the unemployed and will use the results to create a framework for Allegheny County.

PA Jobless Breaks Rising Streak as Payrolls Grow

Nov 17, 2012

Pennsylvania's jobless rate is down for the first time in six months as employers expanded their payrolls slightly in October.

The state Department of Labor and Industry said Friday that the unemployment rate dropped to 8.1 percent from 8.2 percent, as both overall employment and the number of people working or seeking work grew.

The national unemployment rate is 7.9 percent.

Pennsylvania's jobless rate had begun rising again after it dropped back to 7.4 percent from the recessionary peak of 8.7 percent in 2010.

Cardboard City To Highlight Homelessness

Nov 16, 2012

While Rome wasn’t built in a day, this cardboard city will be built and taken down in one.

Beginning at 6 p.m. today and ending at 6 a.m. Saturday, Somerset County will be home to this cardboard city, which will be located at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Somerset.

Roofs Over Our Families (R.O.O.F) will host the event as part of a series of activities for National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week.

$50,000 Donated For Pittsburgh Homeless

Nov 13, 2012

Five Pittsburgh agencies are receiving $10,000 apiece to assist their homeless programs.

Citizens Bank announced the $50,000 contribution to five nonprofits:  Light of Life Ministries, Bethlehem Haven, Familylinks, Pittsburgh Mercy Health System’s Operation Safety Net, and Sojourner House.

Henri Moore, spokesperson for Citizens Bank, said these organizations were selected because of the variety of ways in which they help.

The Pittsburgh Neighborhood Renaissance Fund has awarded a total of $275,000 in community development grants to 12 neighborhoods in the North Side, West End and South Hills. The overall goal is to jumpstart development in communities that have experienced a long decline, but have not gotten improvement funds and resources like other areas of the city have received.

Pennsylvanians who purchased cigarettes online may have thought they were getting a good deal with cheaper prices, but the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue says the good deals might have come at the expense of breaking the law.  The Department reported nearly 23,000 residents did not pay state taxes on cigarette packs bought online and through the mail.

A state program designed to help low-income households with their energy bills has started accepting applications.

The Pennsylvania Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides grants especially in the winter months.

Donna Morgan, spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, said the department is urging people to register early. 

The Pittsburgh Steelers have filed an intent to sue the stadium authority over funding for additional seats in Heinz Field.                                                               

A stalled plan to add 3,000 end zone seats and a new scoreboard would cost up to $39 million. The Steelers want the city-county Sports Exhibition Authority to pitch in about two-thirds of that – which the team says is required under a lease agreement. SEA officials want to contribute less.

Mon Wharf Goes Under, 10th Street Bypass Stays Open

Oct 30, 2012

When it comes to flooding downtown you can consider Pittsburgh lucky when it comes to Hurricane Sandy.

While there is a flood warning in effect for the Youghiogheny River in Connellsville and for the Conemaugh River in Seward, it seems Pittsburgh has avoided major flooding from Hurricane Sandy and the many of the other predicted impacts of the storm.

Lee Hendricks, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said warnings were issued, but no rivers are expected to flood downtown.

For a 12th straight month there have been year-over-year increases in home sales for the Pittsburgh metropolitan area.  Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Washington and Westmoreland counties all experienced dollar gains in existing home sales.

Fall Food Drive Underway

Oct 26, 2012 Drive Wrap_Charlee Song_SOC.wav

Pittsburgh’s retail gasoline prices have fallen 4.2 cents per gallon over the past week, averaging $3.80.  However, that drop is just half that of the national average, which has declines between 9-10 cents per gallon to $3.67 according to

Gregg Laskoski, a Senior Petroleum Analyst for, says that the fluctuations in gas prices are usually a matter of timing.

“We are fortunate to be at the time of year when winter blend gasoline is put back into the market… It is a cheaper gasoline to produce because it has fewer additives.”

Pennsylvania Unemployment Up Slightly in September

Oct 19, 2012

Pennsylvania’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate climbed to 8.2% in September, up one-tenth of a percentage point from the August rate of 8.1%.  Resident employment was up 23,000 to 5,974,000, and the number of unemployed residents was up 5,000 to 530,000. Pennsylvania’s labor force was 130,000 above its September 2011 level. Dine Wrap_Emily Farah_SOC.mp3

Retailers and restaurateurs are hoping to draw more visitors to downtown Pittsburgh to shop and dine while helping out charity at the same time.  

“Stay Late, Shop and Dine” kicks off Thursday and will occur again in November and December as part of a trial program initiated by the Pittsburgh Downtown Community Development Corporation (PDCDC).

Prices Up in Northeast, Larger Jump Nationwide

Oct 16, 2012

The cost of consumer goods and services rose 0.5 percent last month in the northeast region, which includes Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and the New England states.  That compares to a 0.6 percent jump nationally.

"[Over the last 12 months] we saw an increase in prices in the northeast region of 1.7 percent," said Bureau of Labor Statistics spokeswoman Kara Markley.  "For the U.S. as a whole, the increase was 2 percent."

Pittsburgh's diverse labor market and small-city atmosphere make it attractive to young people, according to a panel at the University of Pittsburgh on Tuesday, but the city should do more to attract young adults of diverse ethnicities, and local youngsters should vote more often.

Occupy Pittsburgh Marks One Year Anniversary

Oct 15, 2012

It’s been a year since Occupy Pittsburgh first set up an encampment in a small downtown park. On Monday, the group showed that it’s still operating, despite the lack of a physical headquarters for protests of economic and social issues.

The question Ronald Reagan famously used during his 1980 campaign for president, "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" is still being asked by many, including Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Federal Grant To Increase Business Exports

Oct 15, 2012

Small companies in Pennsylvania are set to get some help in growing their exports.

This Sunday, thousands of people of all ages and occupations are expected to gather at the Washington County Fairgrounds for the region's first Roughneck Fest celebrating Pennsylvania’s growing natural gas industry. Events including cook-offs, arm-wrestling, and a boxing match will help raise money for the PA Firefighter’s Athletic League.

While the festival was designed with the image of the Roughneck worker in mind, festival coordinator Pam Blaker said it will be a day for everyone to enjoy.

New Loan Program To Spur Downtown Retail

Oct 11, 2012

Pittsburgh has space in historic downtown buildings, but not enough retail to fill it. A new loan program propelled by the city hopes to change that.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation today announced the launch of a new loan initiative that hopes to spur more retail ventures and further the economic growth of the Golden Triangle.

Ravenstahl said every great American city needs a strong urban core.

Finding Funding To Repair Crumbling Locks and Dams

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The Fifth Annual Sustainability Conference this Friday will address solutions to the region’s vital waterway infrastructure needs, with presentations from the Army Corps of Engineers, the Port of Pittsburgh Commission, and the new SWPA Water Innovation Consortium, among others.  

Tom Corbett Receives High Marks In Fiscal Policy

Oct 9, 2012

The fiscally conservative Cato Institute today released its biennial Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors and Pennsylvania’s Tom Corbett received an “A."

According to the report, Corbett scored well because he has been a “frugal budgeter” who has reduced spending to a figure lower than when he entered office.

Chris Edwards, Director of Tax Policy Studies for Cato, said he was impressed by Corbett’s steep reduction of the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax.

Interest Rate Swaps: Increased Risk, or Revenue?

Oct 8, 2012 Wrap_Mary Wilson_SOC.mp3

State lawmakers are considering changes to a Pennsylvania law aimed at curbing risky financing among municipalities and school districts.

Pittsburgh International At 20

Oct 1, 2012

20 years ago today the state-of-the-art Pittsburgh International Airport opened for business.   The late Allegheny County Commissioner Tom Foerster greeted passengers at 5:30, the morning of October 1st, 1992.  US Air Flight 620 was the first to land at the new airport. 

Pittsburgh Region's Workforce Aging Fast

Sep 28, 2012