Economy & Business

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."

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Economy
5:36 pm
Mon September 19, 2011

PPG Place Under New Ownership

Raleigh, N.C.-based Highwoods Properties announced the purchase of PPG Place this morning from Market Associates LP, an affiliate of the Hillman Company. The acquisition is Highwoods' first venture into Pittsburgh and company CEO Ed Fritsch, said he is excited.

"This is a great iconic building as y'all know better than we do. It's a wonderful entrée into this market we hope it is truly a springboard for us to do more commerce here," Fritsch said. "It is the jewel of the Pittsburgh skyline and we're thrilled now to be the landlord of two Fortune 500 companies."

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Economy
10:48 am
Mon September 19, 2011

Congressional Steel Caucus Pressures Department of Defense

U.S. Representative Tim Murphy (R-PA) and 31 other members of the Congressional Steel Caucus have urged Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to buy only steel melted in the U.S. to make armor steel plate used in military vehicles, fighter jets, and other sophisticated equipment.

Murphy said in 2009 that the Department of Defense expanded the definition of "U.S.-produced steel," which is required by law, to include steel finished here but melted elsewhere. That has shut out American steelmakers.

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Economy
5:55 pm
Fri September 16, 2011

State to Determine if Pittsburgh Pension is 50% Funded Today

A state agency will tell Pittsburgh leaders today whether the city's underfunded pension plan had the cash needed to avoid a state takeover on January 1, 2011.

On Friday, the Public Employee Retirement Commission received the last documents necessary from the city, concerning Pittsburgh's fund custodian, PNC Investment Group.

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Economy
4:42 pm
Fri September 16, 2011

Coalition Urges Cuts to Environmentally Harmful Programs to Save Cash

A coalition of liberal and conservative organizations is calling on the special Congressional debt reduction panel to cut environmentally harmful programs.

President Ryan Alexander of D.C.-based Taxpayers for Common Sense said the combination of saving money and helping the environment is something both parties could agree on.

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Economy
8:59 pm
Thu September 15, 2011

US Agriculture Secretary in Pittsburgh to Tout Jobs Act

U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is in Pittsburgh today to rally support for the job creation bill recently proposed by President Obama.

Secretary Vilsack said the plan would put people back to work immediately if it's adopted by Congress. The American Jobs Act would cut the payroll tax in half, a measure Vilsack said would encourage small businesses to hire more employees.

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Economy
5:26 pm
Mon September 12, 2011

Local Woman Heeds President’s Jobs Bill Orders

President Barack Obama took to the Rose Garden this morning to warn congress that he will send his "American Jobs Act" to the Capitol later today while at the same time calling on those in attendance to fight for its passage.

"I can't tell you how many times the president said, 'Pass the bill, pass the bill, pass the bill,'" said Just Harvest co-director Tara Marks. Marks was invited to the White House last week, but was not told what the focus of the event would be until later. "Of course you get that invitation you say, 'Great, I want to be there,'" said Marks.

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Economy
9:12 am
Mon September 12, 2011

Solar Energy Hits Milestone in PA

There are now more than 100 Megawatts of installed solar power capacity in Pennsylvania according to a recent report from regional transmission organization PJM Interconnect. That is up from three megawatts four years ago.

"The solar energy industry in Pennsylvania creates a lot of jobs," said PennFuture Energy Center Director, Christina Simeone, "We have estimated that Pennsylvania has the second largest amount of solar energy jobs in the nation, second only to California."

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Economy
8:22 am
Mon September 12, 2011

Window Closing on Federal Foreclosure Aid

Homeowners facing foreclosure have just a few days left to submit applications for federal assistance.

Of $105 million available to Pennsylvanians through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, only $50 million has been committed so far, with about $4 million of that in southwestern Pennsylvania. The remainder of the money is still available through HUD's "Emergency Homeowners' Loan Program" — that is, until Friday.

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Economy
2:23 pm
Fri September 2, 2011

Pennsylvanians Want to Keep Drilling, But Tax It

A broad majority of Pennsylvanians support natural gas drilling, according to a new poll. At the same time, 65% of respondents want lawmakers to pass a severance tax, and send the revenue to the state government. 72% want to split the tax dollars between the state and local municipalities.

"So the takeaway here is, Pennsylvanians say, yep, let's tax. Let's divide the tax between local communities and the state," said pollster Terry Madonna. "Yes, the industry is doing the right thing. They're doing a good job, but oh, by the way, you better be careful about the environment."

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Economy
7:52 pm
Wed August 10, 2011

Toomey Joins Federal Debt Panel

U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) will be part of the twelve-member panel charged with writing a plan to reduce federal debt by more than $1 trillion.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell named Toomey, a former investment banker, to the congressional super-panel today. Toomey, a freshman Republican, said he is "very honored" to serve on the committee when it meets this fall.

"We need to get our spending under control," said Toomey, "and we need to do it in a way that will maximize economic growth."

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