Jobs

U.S. Factory Jobs Are High-Tech, But The Workers Are Not

Aug 16, 2017
John Minchillo / AP

Herbie Mays is 3M proud, and it shows — in the 3M shirt he wears; in the 3M ring he earned after three decades at the company's plant in suburban Cincinnati; in the way he shows off a card from a 3M supervisor, praising Mays as "a GREAT employee."

But it's all nostalgia.

Mays' last day at 3M was in March. Bent on cutting costs and refocusing its portfolio, the company decided to close the plant that made bandages, knee braces and other health care supplies and move work to its plant in Mexico.

The Annual Performance Review Gets A Reboot

Jul 13, 2017
Erika Beras

As a lawyer at a big firm and other companies, Chris Arnold remembers those nights before his annual performance reviews well, if reluctantly.

“Night sweats. Shakes. Terror,” he said. “It was a lot of anxiety.”

That’s because Arnold didn’t know what to expect. Would he get a raise, make partner or be greeted with a nasty surprise? Turns out that type of backward-looking assessment of someone’s performance didn’t work so well for companies either.

Trendy Hat Brand Kangol Is Struggling After Returning Jobs To The U.S.

May 31, 2017
Matt Rourke / AP

If home is where you hang your hat, Kangol is struggling to afford its pricey new U.S. digs.

When the famous hat brand worn by celebrities like Samuel L. Jackson, Brad Pitt and Gwen Stefani moved into a Pennsylvania factory last year from China, executives with the Bollman Hat Co. billed it as an effort to create U.S. manufacturing jobs.

But as labor costs went up, profits went down. Way down. The 149-year-old company behind Kangol says it's losing money on every kangaroo-logo cap knitted at its factory in Adamstown, 60 miles west of Philadelphia.

Lynne Sladky / AP

Pennsylvania's unemployment rate crept up in April, breaking a four-month streak of declines, as payrolls shrank slightly.

The state Department of Labor and Industry said Friday that Pennsylvania's unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a percentage point to 4.9 percent last month. The national rate was 4.4 percent in April.

The household survey found that the civilian labor force grew by 22,000 in April. Employment rose by 18,000 to a new record high above 6.1 million while unemployment rose by 4,000 to 315,000.

Amy Scott

In a lab at Reading Area Community College, 18-year-old Benjamin Eckenrode stands in front of a blue wall rigged with pistons, pumps and gauges. It’s a pneumatic troubleshooting system, designed to teach students how to identify and solve problems with manufacturing equipment.

“This piston is supposed to go down and actually pick up a ball, but it is not,” he said.

Eckenrode’s assignment is to figure out why the piston isn’t moving. The high school senior is taking this college class as part of a program to prepare more young people for careers in the technical trades.

Joe Ulrich / WITF

 

Jobs in Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry declined 32 percent in the second quarter of 2016, compared to the same time period last year, new state data show.

Gov. Wolf Eliminating 'Thousands' Of Unfilled State Jobs

Dec 16, 2016
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

 

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf says he's eliminating thousands of unfilled positions in state government as the state faces a large budget deficit.

The Wolf administration told cabinet agencies in a Friday memo obtained by The Associated Press that it is effectively limiting the size of the state workforce to the number of positions now filled.

Wolf's press secretary, Jeff Sheridan, says the decision will affect thousands of positions. But he says he doesn't have a precise number or know how much money will be saved.

Rick Smith / AP

 

Dozens of workers at the Pennsylvania plant that makes marshmallow Peeps are back on the picket line after learning they permanently lost their jobs during the three-week strike.

The Morning Call of Allentown reports most of the 400 employees at Just Born Quality Confections went back to their jobs Monday, ending the walkout.

Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union Local 6 offered to continue working under an expired contract and the company agreed.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Democratic Pennsylvania U.S. Senate Candidate Katie McGinty rolled out her jobs creating package Wednesday during a stop in Pittsburgh.

She said manufacturing jobs are a part of Pittsburgh’s past, but also need to be a part of its future.

“The cutting edge of manufacturing is not about cheap labor,” McGinty said while standing in front of the “Industry” mural at the Allegheny County Courthouse. “It’s about skilled labor, plus technology, plus speed to market.”

Matt Rourke / AP

 

A developer wants to build an ice cream factory on a stretch of vacant lots in your city. The city is eager to have the ice cream companies and woos them with tax abatements and other public subsidies.

"Jobs!" the city council cries. "An increased tax base!"

Hortlander / Flickr

In 2010, at the height of the recession, the Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center saw a spike in demand for its welding program, so officials added a late-night session. 

The 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. class booked quickly, but was only offered the one year.

Now the school is seeing demand for the class spike again and will offer midnight welding in the fall.

Matt Rourke / AP

As Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton heads off on her post-convention campaign trip, she’ll stop in Pittsburgh on Saturday where she is expected to talk about her jobs initiative. 

Clinton said, if elected, she will launch “the largest investment in good-paying jobs since World War II.” The plan includes a goal of bringing “affordable broadband Internet to all Americans by 2020.” 

The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of just 1.2 percent during the second quarter of this year, well below expectations, and it came after an even weaker first quarter, the Commerce Department said.

The report exacerbates fears that factors such as the global slowdown and the decline in energy production might have hit the economy harder than first thought.

Governor Tom Wolf / flickr

Pennsylvania unions bucked a national trend of stagnant growth this year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Jason Rosenberg / Flickr

A new nonprofit based on a successful Mt. Washington venture is slated for expansion in 2016, pledging to hire and train people who have had past trouble finding or keeping work for jobs improving public land.

Headed by Ilyssa Manspeizer, former director of the Mt. Washington Community Development Corporation, the Pittsburgh Conservation Corps will partner case managers and employment contracts to folks hoping to make a change.

Jacob Bøtter / Flickr

There are more job openings in Pittsburgh than there are people with the matching skill sets, according to the Allegheny Conference on Community Development. 

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

Average annual pay increased in the Pittsburgh region from 2013 to 2014, but not as much as in several other cities, including Denver, Cincinnati or Detroit, according to a report released by Pittsburgh Today.

Doug Heuck, director of Pittsburgh Today, an organization which measures progress in areas such as education, sustainability and economy, said local average annual pay rose by 2.7 percent.

Pennsylvania public schools serve roughly 260,000 students with disabilities ages six through 21, about 16 percent of the state’s total student population, according to the U.S. Department of Education. A bill in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives would make it easier for those students to find part-time employment while in high school.

Gage Skidmore / flickr

Florida Governor Rick Scott came to Philadelphia this week to meet with company heads, to try to lure business to the Sunshine State. Scott campaigned on the promise of growing private sector jobs in Florida and one of his tactics has been to visit other states – including California, Illinois, and Maryland – to recruit job creators.

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell said it’s a bit unusual for a governor to show up like Scott did in Philadelphia “but it is not unusual at all for that state government to make calls into other businesses to urge them to relocate into their state. I did it very very often when I was governor.” States, and even municipalities, are competing for companies everyday. 

Flickr user JulianBleecker

The U.S. Conference of Mayors has predicted that Pittsburgh will add more than 18,000 jobs in 2015, and according to a new report from the Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board, those jobs are likely to either be high-paying or low-paying.

The Associated Press

While Pittsburgh’s economy has recovered from the recession that began in 2008, growth is slowing, and policy makers need to address that reality.

That’s according to a new report from the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program. The fourth edition of the Global MetroMonitor examined economic performance in the 300 largest metropolitan economies in the world. Pittsburgh ranked at #253 in 2014. That’s down from a ranking of #192 between 2009 and 2014.

Energy, Gas Industries Focus of CCAC Partnership

Oct 31, 2014

In an effort to attract more people to jobs in the oil and gas industries, the Community College of Allegheny County has partnered with the Energy Innovation Center (EIC) to provide hands-on training and workforce development programs.   

Educational programs will be offered at the new EIC Institute in the Hill District, CCAC president Quintin Bullock said. The Center will open in January.  The collaboration between CCAC and the center officially began this week with the signing of a memorandum.

While the rate of job growth in Pennsylvania sits dead last among states in the U.S., the numbers in Pittsburgh are a bit more optimistic, according to recent studies by the Keystone Research Center and PittsburghTODAY.

The Greater Pittsburgh area added 7,500 jobs from September 2013 to September 2014, a 0.6 percent increase. Pennsylvania, ranked 50th for job growth since January 2011, lost 9,600 jobs in September alone.

A recent survey of 37 energy companies in southwestern Pennsylvania found some 7,000 jobs will need to be filled between now and 2020, jobs that are critical to ongoing operations.

That’s according to the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, which conducted the survey. CEO Dennis Yablonsky said with more than 1,000 energy companies in the greater region, the job needs are likely much higher. The problem is finding enough skilled workers to fill those jobs.

Enter the Appalachia Partnership Initiative.

Corporations large and small, along with service providers, local activists, leaders and education officials are gathered in Pittsburgh for the first Disability Employment Summit, sponsored by the PNC Financial Service Group.

“Knowing that there’s a high unemployment rate with people with disabilities in this region,” said Amanda Snow, with PNC, “there are a number of opportunities and current openings, so how do we match those up?”

Survey: Workforce Issues Could Slow Region's Economy

Oct 2, 2014

Small business owners in southwestern Pennsylvania are on the whole optimistic about the region’s economy, and more than a third of them expect to see their sales increase in the coming quarter.  The projection comes from the latest PNC survey, which looks not only at Pennsylvania but also at the other areas where the bank has operations.

“Pennsylvania small businesses continue to increase their plans to hire over the next six months,” said PNC Economist Kurt Rankin.  Twenty percent of those surveyed plan to add new full-time employees.

The job market of the 21st Century is increasingly global and focused on innovation. That was one of the takeaways at the Governor’s Jobs 1st Summit in Pittsburgh Monday.

Velkr0 / Flickr

While college may not be for everyone, gone are the days when you could go from work to longtime employment without some form of higher education. As the costs of college increase and as more jobs require a level of education beyond high school, trade schools are seeing a boost in enrollment. What are the economic benefits of attending trade school over college?

Brian O'Roark, professor of economics at Robert Morris University, says that student loan debt is a big factor in the decision to attend trade schools. He explains that at a time when four years of traditional college often results in tens of thousands of dollars of debt, for many students the decision to pursue a trade instead makes good economic sense.

“Skipping college actually ends up saving them in the long run because they don’t have to pay those student loans back. So if you find a trade, or if you go to a trade school and find a job that you can work at without incurring that debt, that’s actually a good thing for you.”

Pennsylvania's jobless rate is up slightly but remains better than the national figure. The state Department of Labor and Industry said Friday the seasonally adjusted rate last month was 5.7 percent, up one tenth of a percentage point from June.

“There’s nothing to be alarmed about,” said Sara Goulet, a department spokeswoman. “It’s a very, very small uptick and we do see those periodically. It’s the natural ebb and flow of the employment situation.”

The U.S. rate is currently 6.2 percent.

Economic Benefits Of Renewable Energy?

Jul 30, 2014
Roland Peschetz / Flickr

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan is the cornerstone of President Obama’s climate action plan. Four hearings are being held in four different cities: Atlanta, Washington D.C., Denver, and Pittsburgh.

During these hearing, environmental, business, and health experts will share their opinions on whether the gains that the plan gives the country are greater than the sacrifices that will need to be made.

To examine this issue from an economic standpoint we had Communitopia president Joylette Portlock and Blue/Green Alliance executive director Kim Glass stop by our South Side studio.

Portluck said that even without the new regulations, the coal industry has been shrinking its workforce.

Pages