Economy & Business

Economy
3:30 am
Mon October 7, 2013

Pittsburgh Weekly Wages Increase

Good news for Pittsburghers: more people are joining the workforce and they’re getting paid more.

At a 1.3 percent growth, Pittsburgh had the second highest increase of weekly wages compared to the same quarter last year, only behind Cincinnati, which had a 1.4 percent growth.

This is according to Pittsburgh Today, a regional analytical organization that compares the city to 14 benchmark areas around the country with categories ranging from arts and environment to government and economy.

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Economy & Business
1:16 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Day of Giving Brings In $5.8 Million, Down $1.3 Million

The Pittsburgh Foundation was taking donations for local nonprofit organizations Thursday down to the last second — literally.

More than $5.8 million was donated to about 700 nonprofits as part of the Day of Giving, down roughly 18 percent from last year.

The annual event, now in its fifth year, tries to highlight the region’s charitable initiatives.

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Labor
3:20 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

National Labor Relations Board Files Another Complaint Against UPMC

The National Labor Relations Board has filed another complaint against the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, claiming four workers have been fired for union activity.

UPMC spokeswoman Gloria Kreps says, "The NLRB has not determined that UPMC has violated any labor laws and any representation that a violation has been found is false." She says the hospital network, which dominates western Pennsylvania, is looking forward to presenting its side.

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Economy & Business
2:43 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Pittsburgh-Area Companies Push 'Buy Local' Message for Industry, Businesses

The “buy local” movement gets a lot of attention for efforts to get communities to shop locally and buy local food, but buying local can also extend to industry. That’s the message of the second annual Buy Pittsburgh First Expo.

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Innovate in PA
2:41 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Corbett Launches Innovate in PA

A room full of politicians, entrepreneurs and robots - this was the scene Thursday at the Innovation Works AlphaLab as Governor Tom Corbett announced the launch of Innovate in PA.

With the program, the commonwealth will auction $100 million in deferred tax credits to insurance companies.

These companies will then use the credits to raise funds that will go towards start up technology-related businesses - the Ben Franklin Technology Development Partners, three Life Sciences Greenhouses and the Venture Capital Investment program.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:47 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

Increase In Pennsylvania’s Poverty Rate

While PA's poverty level has increased slightly, Pittsburgh is holding steady.
Credit marsmettnn / flickr

Despite being below the national average of 15 percent, the Census Bureau recently reported a slight increase in Pennsylvania’s Poverty rate. Up from 13.8 in 2012 to 13.9 in 2013, almost 1.8 million Pennsylvanians are considered to be living below the poverty line.

A tenth of a percent may seem paltry but a retrospective look at the past twelve years determines a full 3 percent increase. Associated Press reporter Kevin Begos believes that the economy just isn’t growing the way people hoped it would. There simply aren’t enough jobs for the hundreds of thousands of people looking to support themselves and their families.

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Economy & Business
7:37 am
Mon September 23, 2013

When the Pirates Win, So Do Local Businesses

There are no statistics yet on merchandise sales, but ticket sales for the Pirates this year hit 2.2 million, which is a nearly a 40 percent increase over 2009.
Credit Flickr user jwalter522

Walk around town these days and you’re just about as likely to see someone sporting a Pittsburgh Pirates T-shirt as you are someone in Steelers garb.

Much of the Bucos team gear has been purchased this season as the Pirates won more games than they lost for the first time in 21 years and won back the hearts of fans that can’t remember the last time they had a reason to cheer on the home team in September. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:16 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Paywall Could Offer Opportunity For More In-depth Content

What's the future of digital newspaper content?
Credit Mal810 / Flickr

On Wednesday the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette announced plans to charge a $10 monthly access fee to users of its digital content. The Post-Gazette joins a growing number of newspapers to put their content behind a paywall.

Point Park University Director of Communications, Steve Hallock says people in the newspaper industry have been trying for years to figure out how to monetize their internet content. In other markets, such as Toledo, OH, paywalls have been successful. But with Pittsburgh’s competitive newspaper market Hallock says the Post-Gazette is a test case to watch.

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Gaming Revenues
5:03 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Gaming Fund Investments Go Toward Community Economic Development

The Village Theater Company did not have enough money to break ground on the new cinema in Sewickley by its goal of June, but a new date can be set thanks to gaming revenues.

The state will award nearly $6.6 million in gaming revenues to 19 community and economic development projects in Allegheny County.

According to the Corbett administration, the projects will provide new opportunities for quality housing, business growth and job creation.

The $350,000 allotted to Brian Dugan, president of Village Theater Company, will go toward building a nonprofit movie theater.

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Economy & Business
4:36 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Pennsylvania Casinos Continue to Build Diverse Workforce

The sixth annual Gaming Diversity Report from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board shows the number of minorities working in casinos continues to grow.

Statewide, 31 percent of the 16,644 casino employees are minorities. That’s up slightly from last year’s 30 percent. Diversity also continues to grow among management, executive and professional positions.

“This year we have 2,733 individuals; 63 percent are males, 37 percent are females and 21 percent are minorities, which is a good number,” said Mozelle Daniels, director of diversity for the Gaming Control Board.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:56 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Asking for Advice May Be All the Advice You Need

Credit Raul Valdes-Perez / Ganador Press

Raul-Valdes Perez was co-founder, chairman, and nine-year CEO of Vivisimo. He's also the author of Advice is for Winners: How to Get Advice for Better Decisions in Life and Work. He claims the secret to his success is simple: ask for advice when making decisions and you will be more successful.

According to Perez people who need help should ask: What is the task at hand? Do we have enough knowledge and experience to do this confidently? What area of the task do I need help with? Who can help me? How can I reach out to them?

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:52 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Hispanic Business Contribution in Pittsburgh

The IGA Market on Broadway in Beechview, is one of many businesses catering to the neighborhood's growing Hispanic population.
Credit Market on Broadway IGA / Facebook

As the Hispanic population in the Pittsburgh region grows, businesses touting authentic Latin food are flourishing.

These stores bring culture and exposure to the region, says business contributor Rebecca Harris, Director of the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University.

They’re also providing area grocery stores with Latin American and Mexican items to fill the ever-increasing demand. 

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Reassessment Appeals
5:04 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

County Controller: Reassessments Significantly Different in Appeals

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner has found what she believes to be a discrepancy in tax reassessment breaks between commercial and residential properties.

The controller’s office released information Monday showing commercial properties are receiving significantly bigger tax reassessment breaks than homeowners.

Wagner said there seems to be an inconsistency between how commercial properties were reduced and how residential properties were reduced at the assessment hearings.

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Economy & Business
1:09 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

International Week Brings Business Opportunities to Pittsburgh

Twenty-three trade representatives from 23 countries including Australia, Brazil and China are in Pittsburgh on Monday as the 12th annual Pennsylvania International Week made its stop in the city.

The touring business conference is at Two Chatham Center and will move to Heinz Field Tuesday morning.

Peter O’Neill, executive director for the state Center of Trade Development, said this month is the best time to make new business connections.

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Housing
1:21 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Pittsburgh Housing Market Continues Upward Trend

More homes sold in the Pittsburgh area last month than a year ago, and they were scooped up more quickly — at higher prices.

That’s according to the West Penn Multi-List which reports that in the 13-county region, 3,817 residential homes were sold last month, up 14.7 percent from August 2012. Those homes were on the market for 72 days compared to 82 days a year ago, and the average sales price rose 2.6 percent to nearly $178,000.

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Economy
12:34 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

PNC Survey Finds Less Than Half of Americans Prepared for Retirement

When it comes to retirement, are you a planner, a procrastinator or an avoider?

PNC’s third annual Perspectives on Retirement Survey finds 42 percent of people ages 35-70 consider themselves to be on track for retirement. Those are the planners.

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Pennsylvania
3:30 am
Mon September 9, 2013

Pennsylvanians to Receive Extra $200 from LIHEAP Crisis Grant

Pennsylvanians who received a Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) crisis grant last year might warm up at the news that they are receiving an additional $200.

“It turns out at the end of the LIHEAP season last year, we had enough money that we felt the need to kind of return it to those people who had the greatest need,” said Anne Bale, spokeswoman for the Department of Public Welfare.

Bale said the extra $200 will be sent directly to the crisis-clients’ utility companies.

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Labor
9:23 pm
Sat September 7, 2013

Hundreds of Protestors Stage Sit-In Outside UPMC

Protesters sit down to sing "Amazing Grace" outside UPMC in Oakland.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Hundreds of protestors sat down in the middle of Fifth Avenue in Oakland outside of UPMC Presbyterian Saturday, singing “Amazing Grace” and calling on the healthcare giant to make some major changes.

Christoria Hughes, 56, works in the dining hall at Presbyterian for $12/hour, and said the rally wasn’t just about the employees of UPMC.

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"Off-Book" Accounts Audited
4:11 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

County Controller Wagner Audits 'Off-Book' Accounts

In the wake of Pittsburgh Police Chief Nate Harper’s indictment on counts of conspiracy and theft of public funds, Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner wants to increase transparency in county funds.

She and County Manager William McKain are auditing “off-book” accounts with the goal of bringing them under the county’s centralized accounting and banking system.

She called the accounts “historic relics” from the county’s former row office structure.

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Economy & Business
1:01 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

State Tax and Revenue Collection Behind Projections

Two months into the new fiscal year, Pennsylvania’s revenue collections seem to be lagging just a little behind, with the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue’s General Fund bringing in $3.7 billion— 0.1 percent below estimate.

In August, corporation tax, inheritance tax and realty transfer tax all fell below the state’s projections. Only sales, cigarette, alcohol and table game tax revenues were above estimates.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:38 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

The Diet Industry is Big Business

People who have lost and kept off 30 lbs or more suggest working out for 150 minutes per week.
Credit Lululemon Athletica / flickr

As obesity rates rise in the United States, so too do the amount of citizens annually attempting to diet. Rebecca Harris, Director of the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University, says studies show at any one time, America has an estimated 108 million people on diets.

She notes that most are women, most make four or five attempts per year to diet and an overwhelming majority are trying to lose weight by themselves, without a plan or program.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:46 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

The Thrill Mill: Contributing to Pittsburgh's Business Ecosystem

The Thrival Festival is a highly anticipated music and innovation event coming to Bakery Square in East Liberty this September.
Credit Somenametoforget / Flickr

Startup incubators provide entrepreneurs with opportunities to grow their ideas in an affordable space, with resources, mentoring and sometimes funding. They’ve sprung up all over Pittsburgh, especially in East Liberty. 

The Thrill Mill and its incubator space, the Hustle Den, is one of the new kids on the block. And while many incubators are focused on technology, Thrill Mill is supporting some diverse innovators.

For Bobby Zappala founder of the Thrill Mill, it all started when he moved back to Pittsburgh from Washington D.C. in 2006. He says he and his friends wanted to connect with other young people who had interesting business ideas. He says they host regular gatherings which became very popular.

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Economy & Business
6:06 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

At Hearing, Municipal Officials Propose Prevailing Wage Reform

A group of municipal officials thinks prevailing wage is unnecessarily taking money away from taxpayers.

The officials called for prevailing wage reform at a recent House Labor and Industry Committee hearing.

Under the Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Act, the pay rate is required for construction, reconstruction, demolition, alteration or repair work that costs at least $25,000.

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Economy & Business
4:24 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

State of the Labor Report Shows PA Sliding

Just ahead of Labor Day, the left-leaning Keystone Research Center is calling on the state to spend more to support public sector jobs and on the private sector to pay their low-wage workers more. 

The Harrisburg-based think tank’s State of Working Pennsylvania report shows the state’s strong employment position immediately following the recession has begun to falter.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:00 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

The Business of Labor Day

Rosie the Riveter, depicted here by Norman Rockwell for the Saturday Evening Post, was one of the most recognized icons of the labor movement.
Credit Curtis Publishing / Wikipedia

More than 34 million Americans are projected to travel 50 miles or more this Labor Day weekend. This brings big profit opportunities for  businesses throughout the country.

Since its inception in 1882, the holiday has been marked by icons like Rosie the Riveter, barbecues and family gatherings.

Rebecca Harris, Director of the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University, says Labor Day weekend travelers will spend an estimated $800 on dining, shopping and gifts.

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University of Pittsburgh
3:31 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Student Group Convinces Pitt to Join Anti-Sweatshop Program

A student group at the University of Pittsburgh has been successful in its effort to get the school’s administration to sign on to a program aimed at guaranteeing workers rights wherever official school apparel is manufactured.

“As soon as I found out for sure I jumped up and down for like a good two or three minutes,” said Joe Thomas, co-founder of the Pitt chapter of Americans for Informed Democracy.

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Economy & Business
2:45 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

PA Treasurer Pushes Parents to Open College Funds

State Treasurer Rob McCord is urging parents to open a Pennsylvania 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan (GSP) before Sept. 1 to take advantage of last year’s lower cost per college credit.

529 plans are offered by states that include tax-free earnings growth and withdrawals.

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Economy
4:34 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Activists Want Better Wages For UPMC Service Workers

UPMC employs more than 55,000 people in the Pittsburgh region, but according to the group Pittsburgh United, the wages the health care giant pays its service workers are weakening the middle class.

According to a report released Thursday by Pittsburgh United, UPMC’s service workers earn between 8 and 30 percent less than the lowest sustainable family wage.

Barney Oursler, executive director of Pittsburgh United, said UPMC employs as many as 32,000 low wage service workers.

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Downtown Development
2:40 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

City, State Officials Praise $100M Gardens at Market Square Project

City and state officials gathered Wednesday to mark the ceremonial groundbreaking of The Gardens at Market Square development in downtown Pittsburgh.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:23 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

The Business of Couponing

Guess which American company was the first one to adopt the coupon?
Credit The Coca Cola Company

Always one for quirky trivia, Essential Pittsburgh business contributor Rebecca Harris fills us in on the origins of the now ubiquitous coupon. Perhaps more intriguing, however, is the coupon’s future. Though 80-90% of the coupon market still lies in print, the online coupon market is exploding. This is especially true when it comes to smartphones, with the mobile market projected to be $46 billion by 2016. Harris says, the advent of personalized coupons means mass coupon printing is no longer necessary. “You don’t have to be a huge retailer,” she says, to enjoy the benefits of the mobile coupon craze.

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