Economy & Business

Economy
11:00 am
Mon November 21, 2011

GOP Opposes Allegheny County Property Tax Hike

A proposal to raise Allegheny County property taxes is taking flak from Republicans on County Council, who argue that there are better ways to balance the budget.

The Council's Democratic majority has proposed a property tax hike from 4.69 mills to 5.69 mills, a 21 percent increase meant to restore last year's budget cuts to the Community College of Allegheny County and human services programs.

Read more
Economy
9:33 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

Shale Gas and Health: Science Meets Politics

Public health researchers gathered at the University of Pittsburgh on Friday to share their findings on how drilling in the Marcellus Shale for natural gas does or does not impact human health.

Among the presenters was Duke University's Robert Jackson. He co-authored a study earlier this year showing higher concentrations of methane in groundwater near Marcellus shale gas wells. The study instantly thrust Jackson into the national debate about franking.

Read more
Economy
9:18 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

Pennsylvania Unemployment Down for October

Pennsylvania's unemployment rate dropped to 8.1 percent in October, down from 8.3 percent in September.

It remains lower than the national average of 9 percent. The positive news has some economists cautiously optimistic.

Read more
Economy
7:46 pm
Thu November 17, 2011

Washington County Hopes to Delay Reassessment Even Longer

Washington County's Commissioners plan to appeal Common Pleas President Judge Debbie O'Dell Seneca's ruling ordering property reassessment in the county. They have until December 15 to appeal the decision.

Commissioner Diana L. Irey said that the county wants to avoid reassessment because the process is outdated.

Read more
Economy
7:23 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

Council, Administration Battle over City Debt

Pittsburgh City Council is forging ahead with a new plan to control the city's borrowing habits, despite stern opposition from Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's administration.

The measure, given preliminary approval on Wednesday, would put strict limits on how much total debt the city could take on, pegging that number as a percentage of the General Fund.

The mayor's Finance Director, Scott Kunka, said that the city needs more freedom when borrowing.

Read more
Economy
5:00 pm
Wed November 9, 2011

Agency Works to Help Vets Get Jobs

As Pennsylvania celebrates the nation's service members this Veterans Day, the veterans themselves continue to deal with an unemployment rate higher than the civilian average.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for veterans who've served in the past ten years is 12.1%, as compared with the national average of 9.0%.

Read more
Economy
5:01 pm
Fri November 4, 2011

Business Council Weighs in on Shale Rules

Local government groups have been critical of a Pennsylvania House proposal that would allow state-imposed natural gas drilling regulations to trump local ordinances, but one business advocate is arguing that the alternative is a regulatory patchwork.

Representatives for the state's townships and boroughs have issues with the bill. The Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs is not keen on the idea of allowing counties to decide if they would like to impose drilling fees.

Read more
Economy
7:37 pm
Wed November 2, 2011

Report Allows Allegheny County Residents to See Where/How Money is Spent

Per capita spending in 123 of Allegheny county's 129 municipalities rose slightly in 2009. That's according to a report from the Allegheny Institute, a conservative think tank based in Castle Shannon. The average per capita amount spent was $638, compared to $629 in 2008.

The report finds that per capita spending was up slightly at a time when revenue remained flat.

Read more
Economy
2:51 pm
Wed November 2, 2011

Terror-Free Investments Succeeding

A year into a state law prohibiting the investment of pension funds into companies that do business in Iran and Sudan, State Rep. Dan Frankel (D-Pittsburgh), who advocated for the legislation, says the pension plans' investments have not been hurt by these restrictions.

"When you take a look at mutual fund portfolios around the country that target terrorist-free investments, they've outperformed the general market," Frankel said. "So we believe there's been no negative impact and probably positive impact on Pennsylvania's pension funds."

Read more
Economy
6:04 pm
Tue November 1, 2011

Pennsylvania Democrats Call on GOP to Vote for American Jobs Act

The leader of the national Democratic Party stopped in Pittsburgh on Tuesday to call on Republicans to pass President Obama's American Jobs Act.

Florida Congresswoman and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Republicans "should be ashamed of themselves" for voting against the stimulus measure when it came up for votes, both in full form and in smaller pieces.

Read more
Economy
5:46 pm
Tue November 1, 2011

Energy Assistance Program Opens for 2011-2012

The Low Income Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, is now accepting applications for the winter months ahead. Pennsylvania has $135 million dollars that will go to qualifying households to help with heating utilities or so-called crisis grants for things such as emergency repairs to heating systems.

"A household of four with an income of 33,525 a year is eligible to receive LIHEAP benefits. Those benefits range from a cash benefit from $100 to $1,000, and a crisis benefit from $25 to $300," said John Coleman, Vice Chairman of the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission.

Read more
Economy
7:20 am
Tue November 1, 2011

Research on Marcellus Drilling Hampered by Lack of Data, Lack of Funding, and Concerns of Bias

Penn­syl­va­nia Gov­ernor Tom Corbett has said he wants to make deci­sions about drilling for nat­ural gas in the Mar­cel­lus Shale based on good sci­ence. But the effort to research the impact of shale drilling has been ham­pered by lack of fund­ing, lack of data and claims of bias.

Dur­ing the next sev­eral months, law­mak­ers in Har­ris­burg will be draft­ing leg­is­la­tion based on Gov­er­nor Corbett's pro­pos­als for new gas drilling rules.

Read more
Economy
5:20 pm
Mon October 31, 2011

Pittsburgh-area “Scary” Bridges Target of Spooky Rally on Halloween

"There's two things that really make Hulk mad: unsafe bridges and unemployment!"

Those words were uttered by Bob Glidden, who was dressed as the Incredible Hulk while rallying at the foot of the Birmingham Bridge. He and about a dozen others were calling for state lawmakers to commit to fixing the area's bridges. The rally was staged by Pennsylvania Wants to Work, an organization tackling unemployment in Pittsburgh. Organizers say that fixing the area's deficient bridges would help solve the jobs problem and increase public safety.

Read more
Economy
5:44 pm
Fri October 28, 2011

Housing Official Talks Rust Belt in PA

U-S Housing and Urban Development Secretary, Shaun Donovan took a trip to Pennsylvania this week to meet with clergy, city council members, and state lawmakers to dive into problems common to Pennsylvania's older cities, boroughs, and townships.

The top housing official in the Obama administration is singling out Pennsylvania cities where federal programs stand to benefit struggling neighborhoods.

Read more
Economy
3:59 pm
Thu October 27, 2011

Occupy Pittsburgh Protests Romney Campaign Fundraiser

Despite a cold, rainy day, about thirty Occupy Pittsburgh protesters gathered outside the Consol Energy Center Thursday to protest a private campaign fundraiser held by Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney.

Calling Romney a "one-percenter," the Occupy Pittsburgh crowd criticized his method of raising campaign funds. The protesters said many of his top campaign backers are the large banks they vehemently oppose, and that corporations and business leaders paid $1,000 to $2,500 for lunch with the GOP front-runner at the Consol Center.

Read more
Economy
8:21 pm
Mon October 24, 2011

Pittsburgh Area Businesses Learn the Ins and Outs of Marcellus Shale Supply Chain

It takes a lot of players to get natural gas from the ground to the marketplace. That was the message of a one-day seminar in Cranberry Township which helped regional businesses learn how to get into the supply chain. Natural gas development goes beyond drilling and extraction; the Marcellus Shale Coalition said more than 400 businesses are part of any one well development.

"There is a lot environmental, water management, land management, manufacturing opportunities, transportation and logistics," said Kathryn Klaber, President of the Coalition.

Read more
Economy
4:19 pm
Fri October 21, 2011

Pennsylvania Unemployment Rises for Fourth Straight Month

Pennsylvania's unemployment rate is still lower than that of most states, but the Commonwealth's jobless numbers are inching toward the national average.

The state's Department of Labor and Industry reports an unemployment rate of 8.3% for September, up more than a percentage point since May. The U.S. unemployment rate has held steady at 9.1% during that time period.

The state lost nearly 16,000 jobs over the span of a month. Government employment took the biggest hit, shedding 8,300 jobs since August.

Read more
Economy
5:06 pm
Wed October 19, 2011

City Boosts Pension Payment to Gain ICA Budget Approval

A state-appointed financial oversight board required that Pittsburgh increase its yearly pension fund contribution, before giving approval to the mayor's 2012 budget proposal on Wednesday.

The Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority contends that the city's proposed pension payment of about $50 million wasn't enough to keep the fund on an even keel next year.

Read more
Economy
4:33 pm
Sat October 15, 2011

Pittsburgh ‘Occupied'

Hundreds of people marched from the Civic Arena to Market Square Saturday, chanting maxims like "We declare a class war!" and "Bankers are terrorists!" with both a steady drumbeat and a strong police presence in accompaniment.

The 'Occupy' movement has come to Pittsburgh, and activists say they'll be staying a while, camping out on the Mellon Green near BNY Mellon Headquarters.

Many said they feel the disparity in pay between corporate CEOs and the working class is unfair.

Read more
Economy
6:31 pm
Mon October 10, 2011

Workshop Aimed at Helping Small Businesses Thrive

It's often said that small businesses are the key to a strong economy, but in today's economic climate many continue to struggle. Monday afternoon, the "Small Business Works — Welcome to Oz" workshop will take place in downtown Pittsburgh. It's an effort to connect small businesses, startups and entrepreneurs with needed resources.

This is the third event of its kind, which is sort of a one-stop shop for small businesses to find what they need.

Read more
Economy
5:25 pm
Mon October 10, 2011

Marketers Predict High Halloween Retail Sales

Halloween has become one of the big retail events of the year, and indications this year point to even higher sales volumes, according to Duquesne marketing professor Audrey Guskey, who says the holiday could boost the national economy.

Consumers spend more than $72 per person on candy, decorations, parties, and costumes, according to Guskey. Adults now spend more on costumes for themselves—$1.2 billion—than the $1 billion they spend on their kids. Pets dress up at a cost of $310 million.

Economy
5:21 pm
Mon October 10, 2011

Protesters Will Unfurl Banner on Greenfield Bridge to Rally for Jobs

Tonight, those in favor of the American Jobs Act will rally on the Greenfield Bridge in Squirrel Hill, draping a large banner from the bridge.

Shawn Wygant, who helped organize the 5:30 p.m. protest, said the location of the rally is a prime example of work that needs to be done.

"In Pittsburgh we have one of the highest unemployment rates in the state right now. And there's plenty of work to be done around the city — namely these bridges that are dilapidated, falling down, and really endangering the safety of our citizens," Wygant said.

Read more
Economy
10:00 am
Mon October 10, 2011

Grant to Help Pennsylvania Companies Boost Exports

Small business owners looking to increase trade are receiving help from the government.

Pennsylvania will receive $1.7 million to help companies expand and grow by increasing their exports as part of a program by the federal Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA is committing approximately $30 million nationwide to increase the number of businesses exporting and enhance the value of exports for those already selling overseas.

Read more
Economy
7:54 pm
Fri October 7, 2011

Small Businesses in Pennsylvania and Nation Fearful about Short-term, Optimistic about the Future

A majority of U.S. small business owners will either maintain or reduce their number of full-time employees over the next 6 months, as weak sales continue to put a strain on commerce. That's according to the PNC Outlook Survey's newest findings.

In Pennsylvania, only 9% of business owners expect to hire full-time employees during the next six months, down from 15% in the spring. 9% plan to reduce full-time staff, which is unchanged from the spring.

Read more
Economy
8:15 pm
Tue October 4, 2011

United Steelworkers Against Obama’s Free Trade Proposals

The United Steelworkers (USW) opposes three new free trade agreements (FTAs) proposed by President Barack Obama on Monday.

USW Legislative Counsel Linda Andros said her union is lobbying against the trade deals with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama.

"We think that these FTAs are not any different than past free trade agreements in that they don't generate jobs, not in the manufacturing sector, which is where we have about 850,000 members working," said Andros. "They've actually been a good way to outsource jobs."

Read more
Economy
9:00 am
Mon October 3, 2011

Gas Prices Down But Still Higher Than Last Year

Gas prices in Western Pennsylvania have dropped recently, which is typical when high summer demand slacks off, but they are also influenced by global conditions. Bevi Powell, Communications Director for AAA East Central, said Wall Street and worldwide demand affect the price we pay for gas. When summer began, oil was $113 a barrel; today it's about $80. The average price of self-serve regular gas is still more than 70 cents higher now than it was a year ago.

Read more
Economy
5:05 pm
Fri September 30, 2011

County Property Tax Bills Could Arrive as Late as June

The ongoing delays and legal issues surrounding Allegheny County's property reassessment process may force the County Treasurer to send out tax bills as late as June next year — four or five months later than usual.

Treasurer John Weinstein said he's waiting on an order from Common Pleas Judge Stanton Wettick before confirming a send-off date for the tax bills, which are normally sent in late January or early February.

Read more
Economy
6:25 pm
Tue September 27, 2011

BlueGreen Alliance “AIMs” to Create Jobs

With the nation's unemployment rate at 9.1% and zero net job growth in August, a labor and environmental partnership is calling on Congress for investments to create millions of jobs.

Read more
Economy
6:39 pm
Thu September 22, 2011

Pittsburgh Poverty Rate Up But Lower Than National Average

The Pittsburgh poverty level rose 1.4 percentage points to 12.2 percent in the last decade according to U.S. Census data from 2010 That means roughly 279,000 people in the Pittsburgh area now live in poverty.

Nationally, the figures are worse. The recession in the latter half of the last decade increased the poverty rate to 15.1 percent, or 43.6 million people, the highest it's been since 1993. Pennsylvania as a whole has 13.4 percent of its population living in poverty.

Read more
Economy
8:08 pm
Wed September 21, 2011

Study: Trade Deficit with China Killing Pennsylvania Jobs

Pennsylvania is losing jobs because of China's trade practices, according to a study from the nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute. Researchers found that the increase in U.S. imports from China and the decrease in American exports there has combined to create a $278 billion "trade deficit"—a gap three times greater than the 2001 figure. The D.C.-based Economic Policy Institute says the growing trade deficit has eliminated 2.8 million American jobs, much of that in the manufacturing sector.

Read more

Pages