Economy & Business

Marcellus Shale
3:31 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

CEO of Marcellus Shale Coalition Stepping Down

After nearly four years, the head of Pennsylvania’s leading natural gas industry group will be stepping down.

The Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) announced Friday its CEO Kathryn Klaber will be leaving the group this fall and will stay on during a nationwide search for her replacement.

Klaber, a Beaver Falls native, will be representing the MSC at upcoming events in Australia and London and will host the group’s third annual Shale Insight conference in Philadelphia in September.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:50 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

Chefs Go Wild Over Local Wild Mushroom

Chanterelle mushrooms are quickly becoming a popular -- and pricey -- local delicacy.
Credit Flickr


Chanterelle mushrooms are not your average fungus. The orange-hued mushrooms are a local delicacy found through foraging, and nationally acclaimed chefs like Top Chef Bryan Voltaggio are willing to pay top dollar for them.

With prices ranging from $18 to $22 a pound, they’ve become a cash crop for foragers like Wild Purveyors.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:18 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

The Business of Ice Cream with Rebecca Harris

What's this year's frozen treat craze? Frozen Yogurt, a.k.a. Froyo.
Credit Flickr


In the world of “frozen dessert products,” ice cream is still king, reports business contributor Rebecca Harris. Though recent years have seen a rise in the popularity of numerous frozen treat fads, the U.S. still consumed more ice cream than anything else by a long shot. In 2012, 899 million gallons of the frozen treat were doled out in cones, cups, pints, and tubs, compared to 467 million gallons of low fat ice cream and only 74 million gallons of frozen yogurt.

If those numbers aren’t eye popping, think of it this way: the US market for ice cream has been more than $10 billion. And according to Harris, “It’s all about the tub. Well over half the US $12 billion in annual sales is served in pints or half gallons.”

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Business
7:13 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Merchants to Congress: How About e-Fairness?

Brick-and-mortar store owners across Pennsylvania are trying to put pressure on Congress to make online retailers collect state sales tax.

Right now, such vendors don't have to collect sales tax from out-of-state purchases, and many customers are unaware they're required to report the tax on their own.

Pennsylvania-based retailers say it's a loophole that gives online-only vendors an unfair advantage, allowing them to undercut prices at brick-and-mortar stores.

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Economy & Business
3:30 am
Mon July 22, 2013

It's Cheap to Buy a House in Pittsburgh, But Not a New One

A national survey shows the median home in the Pittsburgh region in 2011 was valued at $69,000, compared to $110,000 nationally. However, the study found the median price for a new home in the Pittsburgh region is slightly higher than the national median.
Credit Flickr user Casey Konstantín

It’s an often-repeated fact that Pittsburgh homes are cheaper to buy than those in the rest of the country, but a new study shows that does not hold true for new construction.

Every other year, the U.S Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) conduct a national survey measuring home prices, conditions, maintenance costs, and other relevant data. The survey also takes an in-depth look at 25 to 30 individual metro-areas on an ever-changing basis. 

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Business
3:30 am
Mon July 22, 2013

PA American Water Company Wants to Increase Rates

If the Pennsylvania American Water Company receives approval by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), the water you use could cost you an extra $6.12 a month.

The company is in the process of increasing its rates for 2014.

Company spokeswoman Josephine Posti said the average customer uses 3,900 gallons of water a month.

Posti said the rate increase is to recover the cost of system upgrades since 2011.

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Business
10:24 am
Thu July 18, 2013

French Leaders Connect with PA Counterparts This Week in Pittsburgh

More than 40 business, university and economic development leaders from France are in Pittsburgh this week to rendezvous with their Pennsylvania counterparts.

The high-level delegation is led by Jean-Jack Queyranne, the president of the Rhone-Alpes region in France. That’s equivalent to an American governor. The trip is a follow up to Gov. Tom Corbett’s business development mission to France in March 2012.

Queyranne said his region and Pennsylvania have a special relationship.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:19 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

The Business of Manufacturing With Rebecca Harris

Could additive manufacturing, be the future of manufacturing?
Credit Amy Buser / Flickr

The resurgent manufacturing sector has been a boon in America’s struggling economy, but women are being left out of the action. In her second segment on the upswing in manufacturing jobs in the US, business contributor Rebecca Harris talks about the way that the new world of manufacturing is keying off of cutting edge innovation to create jobs.

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Economy & Business
3:07 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

PA to Use Tax Credits to Spark High Tech Start Ups

Established, financially successful companies are looking to reduce their tax liability. Nascent tech firms are looking for an infusion of capital to jump start them. A new program that’s included in Pennsylvania’s tax code, signed this week by Gov. Tom Corbett, aims to accomplish both.

“Innovate in Pennsylvania,” sponsored by State Senator John Blake (D-Lackawanna), allows the commonwealth to auction $100 million in tax credits to insurance companies that will then use those credits to trim their tax liability in the future.

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:17 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Reporting Wage Violations at Pennsylvania Hotels

The Fairmont Hotel Pittsburgh
Credit Martha Rial / PublicSource


Pennsylvania ranks fourth in the country -- behind Texas, Alabama and Florida -- for the number of hotels with labor law violations, according to the Department of Labor and a recent PublicSource story. This includes wage and child labor violations.

PublicSource Reporter Leah Samuel says because many hotel workers are low skilled and in the hospitality industry, where tips may be given, they’re especially vulnerable to wage violations.

“In Pennsylvania, you can actually pay someone as low as $2.83 an hour if they receive tips,”  Samuel explains. So even if a hotel worker normally gets paid at or above the minimum wage, when it comes to overtime, the rate might be 1.5 times that $2.83, which is illegal.

“It’s supposed to be 1.5 times the regular wage they would receive, minus something called the ‘tip credit’.”

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:54 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

The Business of Manufacturing with Rebecca Harris

Business Contributor Rebecca Harris is the Director of the Chatham Center for Women's Entrepreneurship
Credit Rebecca Harris / Chatham Center for Women's Entrepreneurship

According to business contributor Rebecca Harris, rumors of American manufacturing's demise have been greatly exaggerated.

The manufacturing industry in the United States is growing in a very real way, contributing roughly $1.74 trillion to the US GDP on an annual basis for the past several years and continuing to grow. According to Harris, many large name American companies, including GE and Whirlpool, are actually bringing parts of their manufacturing operations back to the US, thereby adding even more manufacturing jobs and openings. Over the past 3 years, manufacturers have added roughly 500,000 new jobs to their operations.

Harris adds that the manufacturing sector isn't close to slowing down.  There are still vacant jobs to fill. The only problem is finding well-trained laborers to fill it.

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Business
3:30 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Penguins Ready to Submit Arena Development Plan

Three years after the final event at the Civic Arena — a James Taylor/Carole King reunion concert — and 15 months after the demolition of the arena was completed, the Pittsburgh Penguins are nearly ready to submit their plan for reuse of that site.

The deal that kept the Penguins from leaving town included the building of a new facility, the Consol Energy Center, and the development rights for the 28 acres on which the old arena and parking lots sat.

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Gambling
3:30 am
Mon July 8, 2013

PA Casino Slot Machines Revenue Down For First Time

Pennsylvania casinos experienced their first drop in slot machine gross revenue this fiscal year since the lucky 7’s started spinning in 2006.

Despite the nearly 2 percent drop in gross revenue, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board reports gamblers spent more than $2.4 billion for the second straight fiscal year.

In the 2012-13 fiscal year ending June 30, slot machine revenue from the 11 Pennsylvania casinos totaled $2,428,840,653 — down from the $2,476,755,316 brought in last fiscal year.

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Business
3:03 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Rivers Casino Says Most Union Charges to NLRB Have Been Withdrawn

A spokesman for the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh says 33 unfair labor claims made by union organizers have been withdrawn following a review by the National Labor Relations Board, and the casino hopes to resolve 17 remaining claims.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:13 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

The Business of the 4th of July

Fireworks are more than entertainment- they're big business on the fourth.
Credit Flickr

For most people, the fourth of July is the last day to think about business. However, there's big money to be made in the celebration of our nation's independence.

Essential Pittsburgh business contributor Rebecca Harris broke down the tremendous amounts of money Americans drop on what we've come to think of as necessities for this patriotic summer holiday. The sums are eye-popping.

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Economy & Business
5:06 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Pittsburgh Weekly Wages Up, But Increase Could Be Short-Lived

Pittsburghers' average weekly wages are up, but slow job growth this year could make it short-lived.

According to Pittsburgh Today, a regional analytical organization, the average weekly wages in Pittsburgh increased by 3.5 percent in 2012, the second largest increase year-over-year behind Cincinnati, which had a 3.8 percent increase.

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:51 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

The Business of Landscaping with Rebecca Harris

A recent national survey showed 81 percent of people with a yard say the upkeep is important to the look of their home. This week it’s all about the curb appeal and joining us to talk about the business of landscaping and what it can do for your home is business contributor Rebecca Harris.

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Economy
3:30 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Partnership Educates on Impact of Hunting on Economy

A new partnership of organizations is aiming to teach Pennsylvanians about the impact hunting has on the state’s economy.

A diverse group that ranges from chambers of commerce leaders to small business owners has formed a partnership called Hunting Works for Pennsylvania.

This partnership was created to advocate for public policy that supports jobs and economic prosperity.

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Economy
3:30 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Property Tax/Rent Rebate Application Deadline Pushed Back

Pennsylvanians feeling the pressure to hurry up and fill out their property tax/rent rebate application by June 30 can breathe a little more easily because the deadline has been extended to December 31.

The due date was pushed back because the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue has additional funds to pay the rebates.

Spokeswoman Elizabeth Brassell said the deadline has been pushed back every year for the past 10 years she has worked at the department.

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Economy & Business
2:38 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

U.S. Senator Casey Urges Passage of River Act

Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) speaks on the deck of a Gateway Clipper ship in Station Square.
Credit Larkin Page-Jacobs / 90.5 WESA

Western Pennsylvania's canal system of locks and dams is an economic generator in the region and beyond, and on Friday, Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) emphasized that it is a resource worth funding.

On the deck of a Gateway Clipper ship at Pittsburgh's Station Square, Casey congratulated river transportation officials for helping push for the River Act, which passed the Senate as part of the Water Resources Development Act. But he also reminded the crowd that there is still a ways to go.

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Economy & Business
4:46 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Sen. Casey Wants to Get Tough on Senior Scammers

According to the latest numbers from the Federal Trade Commission, 26 percent of all securities fraud is perpetrated against seniors, but seniors only represent 14 percent of the nation’s population.

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Employment
3:58 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Mediation Program Launched to Handle Discrimination Disputes

In the past, discrimination disputes cost thousands in lawyers’ fees and trials, not to mention the year it took to even get into court. 

Now the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) is offering a free mediation program so the dispute can be settled within 10 days without legal and court costs.

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:13 am
Tue June 18, 2013

The Business of Non-Profits: Part II

Peggy Outon shares the statistics about the number of women that work in non-profits in the Pittsburgh region
Credit Marcus Charleston / Essential Pittsburgh

Business Contributor Rebecca Harris, speaks with Peggy Outon, the Executive Director, Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University  in part two of her series on the business of nonprofits.This week the focus is on women who comprise the majority of people working at nonprofits.

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Business
3:33 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

'Roadshow for Growth' Highlights Pittsburgh's Middle Market

The “Roadshow for Growth” bus tour came through Pittsburgh Wednesday in an effort by GE Capital and Slate Magazine to focus on the importance of middle market businesses, those with revenues between $10 million and $1 billion. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:24 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

The Business of Non-Profits

Rebecca Harris is the Executive Director of the Center for Women's Entrepreneurship at Chatham University
Credit Rebecca Harris / Chatham Center for Women's Entrepreneurship

Business Contributor Rebecca Harris and Peggy Outon, the Executive Director, Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University discuss the business of nonprofits, and how the nonprofit sector enhances the business environment in our region.

For statistics on earnings in the non-profit industry visit the United Way of Allegheny County  and Guidestar,  a resource for statistics on all things nonprofit

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