Economy & Business

Economy & Business news from 90.5 WESA.

Marc Moss / flickr

Once home to the nation’s leading tire manufacturers, Akron, Ohio, was hit hard by post-industrial layoffs, factory closings and a steadily declining population.

Like other rust belt cities, the once-rubber giant has had to redefine itself and its industry.

In his book The Hard Way on Purpose: Essays and Dispatches from the Rust Belt, author David Giffels chronicles past glories and the present condition of his home state. 

While the overall casino revenue for February decreased 5 percent, the Pennsylvania table games had a bit more luck.

Table games at the commonwealth’s 12 casinos grossed $57.1 million this year — a 3.25 percent increase over February 2013.

However, Richard McGarvey, Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board spokesman, said this increase is not that impressive at second glance.

Flickr user wcn247

Preliminary jobs numbers released this week by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show virtually flat job growth for the Pittsburgh region in 2013, adding just 400 jobs for the year.

Pittsburgh TODAY, a nonprofit research organization housed at the University of Pittsburgh, compared the seven-county Pittsburgh region to other similar metropolitan areas across the Midwest and East Coast, and found that the Steel City fared worst in terms of job growth.

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale has announced his office will perform audits of five healthcare research programs across the state including, Pittsburgh’s Magee-Women’s Research Institute and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

The Business of St. Patrick's Day in America & Ireland

Mar 11, 2014
Katherine Blackley / 90.5 WESA

From parades to shamrocks and the wearin’ o’ the green you see a lot of people celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Pittsburgh. But how does the U.S. celebration of this holiday differ from Ireland’s?

Anne Flynn Schlicht, Assistant Director at the Center for Women's Entrepreneurship at Chatham University and a native of Cork, Ireland, discussed the business of St. Patrick’s Day.

The region’s real estate market in February tumbled compared to the same time in 2013, but many who keep track of the market say a lot of that dip had to do with the weather.

“Look at what we experienced last year in early spring, great weather, everybody was out and about,” said Barbara Kohl, West Penn Multi-List Chief Operating Officer. “This year it was total devastation, freezing rain, sleet, tons of snow. It’s really tough to get people motivated and moving to go out to open houses, and even look at homes, when the weather is so bad.”

Gary Brownell / Flickr

What can small cities learn from each other?

This was the question Andy Cutler answered when he created the Smaller Cities Unite program. Cutler is the driving force behind a movement to connect smaller cities throughout the world.

Thomas Buell, director of marketing at Global Pittsburgh, believes that Cutler’s program can also improve the sister city program that Pittsburgh has with several cities.

From King Cake to Fish Fry, the Business of Lenten Season

Mar 4, 2014
Rmhermen / wikipedia

It’s Fat Tuesday, or as it’s known in New Orleans, Mardi Gras.

This celebration prior to Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent) is celebrated in high style with beads, baked goods and more.

Business contributor Rebecca Harris explained the business and significance of Fat Tuesday and the religious season of observance.

Pennsylvania’s coffers continue to be not as full as state officials anticipated. For a third straight month, revenue collections were lower than expected. 

According to the Department of Revenue, Pennsylvania pulled in $1.6 billion in funds in February which was 2.1 percent below projections. For the first eight months of the fiscal year, total revenues are 0.5 percent less than estimates.

Update 12:07 p.m.

Hundreds of protesters organized by the Service Employees International Union have left the area outside the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's offices downtown, after Mayor Bill Peduto issued a statement asking them to "disband" and "return home."

Peduto's statement indicates he's cutting short a Washington, D.C. trip to return to Pittsburgh Tuesday and hopes to "resolve these conflicts."

Pittsburgh’s rivalry with Philadelphia is older than most can remember, and this year, Pittsburgh has something else to brag about.

According to a new ranking, Pittsburghers are better at saving money.

GOBankingRates.com released a ranking of America’s 100 most populated cities and found that Pittsburgh is ranked 54th. While Pittsburgh might not have even been in the top half, it was at least ranked higher than 92, which is where Philadelphia landed.

The planned $201 million facility that will house Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business has received a major investment from a world-renowned venture capitalist.

James Swartz, an alumnus of the business school, and his wife, Susan, gifted $10 million to the university to help fund the David A. Tepper Quadrangle.  The Quadrangle, a 4.5-acre expansion of the university’s north campus, will include a 295,000 square-foot facility on Forbes Avenue that will be home to the business school, the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and The Simon Initiative.

Courtesy of PNC

The glass skin is starting to be installed on Pittsburgh’s newest skyscraper, and Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Group says it will help make the building more energy efficient in the long run and is helping to grow the local economy in the short term.

The so-called "curtain wall" is actually two layers of glass held in place by steel and recycled wood in a manner that creates what might be best described as a massive storm window.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

The Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence at the University of Pittsburgh has been working with businesses in the region for 20 years. Its annual report was released Wednesday at Turner Dairy Farms, one of the members of the institute.

Founder and Executive Director Ann Dugan said in 2013 the institute helped about 900 entrepreneurs.

“We had 47 startup businesses,” Dugan said. “That was where they came through the door with an idea, today their door is open, the lights are on, music is on, they have sales.”

The Business of Gluten Free

Feb 25, 2014
Gregory Kallenberg

One of the newest food trends in recent years is an increase in gluten-free products. From grocers' shelves to bakeries, you're finding them everywhere. Contributor Rebecca Harris looks at gluten free products in this week's business segment.

The market for gluten-free is growing, and it took second place in Time Magazine’s top ten food trends in 2012.

The Girl Scouts have introduced a gluten-free chocolate chip cookie, and many people are just avoiding gluten in general.

A New Intern's Guide to Professional Wear

Feb 25, 2014
www.tangeroutlet.com/pittsburgh/

With the spring semester underway, many Pittsburgh college students are involved with internships. The transition from a closet full of T-shirts and yoga pants can be a hard one, so here are a few tips to start putting together a professional wardrobe.

1. Professional clothes can be expensive, so shop around.

Why You Should Keep a Career Journal

Feb 24, 2014
Jacob Bøtter / Flickr

Many people keep personal journals to document important moments or help organize their thoughts. However, many people do not keep a career journal.

Sasha King, an independent career consultant, believes that career journals are useful tools.

“Career journaling is looking at your work life and looking at what you’re doing everyday on the job, what your goals are, or if you need to take some kind of a career transition,” she said.

Youth Employment Focus of Pittsburgh Task Force

Feb 24, 2014

A 12-member task force has been assembled by Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto with a goal of expanding job opportunities for the city’s high schoolers.

Specifically, the group has been tasked with overhauling the Summer Youth Employment Program.  Last year the program employed more than 300 residents between the ages of 14 and 21.

Stefani Pashman, chief executive officer of the Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board, is among the members.  She said although the program is strong, it has plenty of room for growth.

Frigid temperatures have brought frosty casino earnings, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

Total casino revenue in January was down 7 percent, or 14 million dollars compared to January of 2013. Board officials say the extreme winter weather that passed over the region last month kept many patrons out of casinos.

January saw a 1 percent decrease in revenue from table games and an 8.7 percent decline in revenue from slot machines. According to board spokesman Doug Harbach, this variation is new for the industry.

Comcast Merger with Time Warner Concerns FCC

Feb 18, 2014
Steve Garfield / flickr

Media giants Comcast and Time Warner may change the way consumers receive their cable, television, and internet, pending negotiations with the FCC over a merger of the two companies.

Critics worry that a merger would create a cable monopoly with zero competition in areas where Comcast and Time Warner serve as the sole provider.

Philadelphia Inquirer consumer and technology columnist Jeff Gelles says the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department had to update how they define essential services to include cable TV as the dominant provider of broadband Internet. 

The Good & The Bad for Businesses in the Winter

Feb 18, 2014
Marcus Eubanks / flickr

With the abundance of cold weather, there has been no shortage of news stories about the climate, energy issues and snow-related complications.

But in addition to an increase in coverage by media outlets, many businesses that sell winter items and services are seeing a big boom in revenue. While others may see a decrease in earnings as a result of the unsettling weather.

Business contributor Rebecca Harris divides the good from the bad and shares the implications of a long winter.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

If you walk down any street these days you are likely to hear a Pittsburgher proclaiming, “I am so ready for this winter to be over.”  Snowfall and low temperature records have been set throughout the northeast and Pittsburgh has been averaging well below normal when it comes to thermometer readings and well above when it comes to snow.

All that has led to higher-than-normal insurance claims and Pennsylvania’s largest homeowner’s and auto insurance provider, State Farm, has been feeling the pinch. 

The number of homes for sale in the 13-county southwestern Pennsylvania region is not keeping pace with the number of people looking to buy homes.

That’s according to a January 2014 report from real estate group West Penn Multi List Inc., which showed new listings in 12 of the 13 counties it covers decreased in the first month of the year.

President George Hacket said overall, the housing market in the region is strong.

How to Own a Piece of Pennsylvania History

Feb 12, 2014
PA Historical and Museum Commission / Cordier Auctions

This weekend citizens of the Commonwealth will get the opportunity to purchase a piece of Pennsylvania history.

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission will auction off items which include a Conestoga Wagon, prints and antique tools.

Mary Jane Miller is collections manager for the Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission. She says this Saturday's auction includes a diverse variety of items.

James Myers / SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania

Registered nurses at UPMC Altoona stepped off the job for a one-day strike on Tuesday.

Tammy Morgan, a nurse in the Behavioral Health Inpatient Unit, said many of the hospital’s 750 nurses are on the picket line today.

“We don’t know exactly how many, but there’s hundreds of people out there,” Morgan said. “We have lots of community people going by honking. We have other people in the community standing with us. Everybody’s riled up, chanting, marching up and down the sidewalks.”

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

For video game enthusiast Mark Bussler, simple, retro 8-bit games can be just as fun as complex modern ones.

He should know, and in fact, it's his business to know.

The 38-year-old of Oakmont has been collecting games since he was five, and today his collection reaches the thousands, all thanks to fans who send him old-school games and accessories to review on his website, Classic Game Room.

The supermarket freezer aisle is getting a little more crowded as a name more associated with lager and porter than vanilla and chocolate takes its place alongside familiar ice cream brands like Breyers and Edy's.

Beer drinkers up and down the East Coast know Yuengling as a 185-year-old Pennsylvania brewery. But Yuengling used to make ice cream, too, starting in 1920 at the dawn of Prohibition.

Now Yuengling's Ice Cream is back after an absence of nearly 30 years, available beginning Monday in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Delaware and New Jersey.

Internet search engine company Google Inc. is expanding its Pittsburgh office in the city's Bakery Square development, but not commenting on a developer's estimate that it could increase the company's employees to 1,000.

Google has confirmed the lease for 66,000 additional square feet, giving the company about 200,000 square feet in a development linked to the city's repurposed Nabisco bakery.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

U.S. Congressman Mike Doyle joined UPMC workers and community activists for a rally outside the federal building in downtown Pittsburgh Monday.

Doyle told the assembled crowd of about 75 people that he recently had the honor of accompanying President Barack Obama on his trip to Pittsburgh last week, and that the two discussed the president’s comments during his State of the Union address.

“One of the things he said that really stuck with me is … 'No one in this country should be working full time and living in poverty,’” said Doyle.

Psychology & Context Deeply Influence Employee Choices

Jan 30, 2014
Heather McClain / 90.5WESA

Behind every tough problem lie human behaviors. Understanding why we do the things we do can be a key to solving tough social problems.

It’s a focus of the work done by Ideas 42, which played a significant role in devising Propel Schools’ innovative 2013 savings initiative.

As the executive director of Ideas 42, Josh Wright explores the juxtaposition of human thought and business enterprise. He is in Pittsburgh as part of the Pitt Philanthropy Forum, where he'll speak Thursday.

Pages