Regional News

The Curtain Rises on a New Reality

The music of Chopin isn’t soaring through Heinz Hall. “Jersey Boys” won’t dance in sync on the Benedum stage. And a mid-June Friday night at Point State Park won’t be packed with concert-goers in lawn chairs. Instead, the Pittsburgh region’s arts and cultural organizations—which employ 15,000 and add roughly $1 billion in direct spending into …

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Pittsburgh’s April Job Loss Is Worst Ever

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the Pittsburgh metropolitan job market with record-breaking force in April, with the region losing 204,500 jobs compared with April of last year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor. Pittsburgh’s loss reflects the employment picture across America as the economic impact of the pandemic intensifies. The United States lost 20.5 million …

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Pandemic Widens Pittsburgh’s Digital Divide

In Pittsburgh and across the nation, the coronavirus pandemic has isolated residents in their homes and shifted huge swaths of public life to the digital world that 1 in 10 people in southwestern Pennsylvania are left out of. Closing longstanding gaps in access to the Internet has taken on new urgency as employers, educators, doctors …

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Pitt Study: Soaring Municipal Failures Loom

More than 100 southwestern Pennsylvania municipalities will be in financial distress next year if the economy can’t shake free from the grip of the coronavirus and prevent budget reserves from being drained and tax revenues from drying up, a new study suggests. Municipal officials, uncertain of the duration of the outbreak and severity of the …

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“Historic Low Levels of Pollution”

Pittsburgh and surrounding neighborhoods received a respite from air pollution in the weeks after nonessential businesses were closed and residents were urged to stay at home and off the streets to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Fine particulate pollution and smog-making gases fell to levels rarely seen in Allegheny County from March 15 to …

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Virus Fallout

Even as it’s leading the fight against the coronavirus in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County is facing a devastating decline in revenue because of the virus. The county depends on a wide array of tax revenues that are certain to decline, at least during the next several months, due to business closures, stay-at-home orders and the slowing …

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Development Boom On Hold

Pittsburgh’s landscape was about to undergo a major facelift this year. The Strip District, Station Square, the lower Hill District were all to break ground on major commercial and multi-use real estate projects. Until COVID-19 arrived. The sudden sweep of the pandemic across the region halted most new construction. Delays in building are compounded by …

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Municipal Nightmare

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought municipalities across southwestern Pennsylvania face to face with the prospect of steep financial losses as stay-at-home orders, business closures and soaring unemployment choke off streams of revenues vital to paying their bills and providing the day-to-day services their residents rely on, such as police, garbage pickup and road repair. The …

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Who Is Most Affected When Places of Worship Close?

The closing of churches, synagogues and other places of worship during the COVID-19 pandemic affects the practices of nearly 2 in 3 Allegheny County residents. But the hardship is not evenly shared. Hardest hit are residents who regularly attend religious services, such as those who attend every day or at least once a week. In …

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Now That the Money’s Gone

As regional banks brace for another wave of small business loan applications, questions surrounding the emergency federal program are front and center after the first $349 billion quickly ran out. Congress and the White House were reportedly near a deal late Monday that would add more than $300 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program, which …

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The City of Pittsburgh Faces Crisis but Its ‘Rainy-Day Fund’ Leaves It Better Prepared Than Most

In a letter to the White House Monday seeking federal support, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto projected a 21 percent loss in revenues this year. The expected $127 million loss will plunge the city into a financial crisis, but that blow may be softened by a little known rainy-day fund. “Over a five-year period from 2020–2024 …

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The Old Order’s Final Portrait

While economic damage from the coronavirus is obvious in Pittsburgh’s deserted streets, the March jobs numbers will be the last ones from the pre-virus era. The most recent job growth numbers show that the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area gained about 1,200 jobs between March 2019 and March 2020, a 0.1 percent increase over the …

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Will Pittsburgh’s Dining Scene Survive the Pandemic?

Pittsburgh, where sandwiches held together with French fries and coleslaw once defined its cuisine, had become a mecca for chefs and bold, award-winning restaurants. The city topped Zagat’s list of top food cities. The BBC last year anointed it the seventh-best destination for foodies in the world. And the New York Times proclaimed: “If there …

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Shale Gas Was in Trouble, Then Came the Coronavirus

Shale gas produced by Appalachian region wells slipped 1.8 percent during the last three months. But what seems like a slight decline warns of a coming storm for an industry that has seen production rise consistently—and sometimes dramatically—every year since the gas-rich Marcellus play drew companies to southwestern Pennsylvania in droves more than a decade …

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As COVID-19 Cases Mount, Pa. Hospitals Get Some Relief

State lawmakers approved a $50 million relief package yesterday for Pennsylvania’s hospitals in what could be just the first infusion of cash into the statewide health care network as it battles the growing COVID-19 crisis. Legislators approved the money one day after a statewide hospital trade group urged them to set up a fund to …

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Region Gained Jobs in January but Pandemic Fallout Looms

The Pittsburgh region added 3,900 jobs from January 2019 to January 2020—a .33 percent increase that’s a faint bright spot in the rearview mirror of an economy in turmoil from the worldwide spread of the coronavirus. “The year ended much as it began, with modest employment growth,” said Christopher Briem, regional economist at the University …

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Coronavirus May Strengthen Pittsburgh’s Ties to Wuhan

Jim Wolf set about retooling Pittsburgh’s flagging Sisters Cities program two years ago at the request of city Mayor Bill Peduto. He guided its reorganization. He watched it secure non-profit status, raise enough money to hire an executive director and begin to restore relationships with several international cities that had gone fallow. To signal its …

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Hospitals, State Moving to Expand COVID-19 Testing

UPMC officials yesterday announced the Pittsburgh-based health system is developing a test of its own to detect the coronavirus, known as COVID-19, which could help expand the capacity to quickly determine who has been infected—something that has been a shortcoming of the U.S. response to the worldwide outbreak of the novel strain of virus. Meanwhile, …

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Local Hospitals Brace for the Coronavirus

The coronavirus has yet to reach southwestern Pennsylvania, buying local hospitals time to put in place strategies for responding to the novel virus that has spread to 113 countries worldwide. UPMC and Allegheny Health Network, the region’s two major health systems, are preparing their hospitals and facilities, educating their providers and addressing the public in …

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Region Prepares for Coronavirus

County officials across southwestern Pennsylvania are on alert for signs of the coronavirus in their communities as they review emergency response plans following a warning from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control that the United States will likely experience a “community spread” of the virus that has so far has infected 81,000 people worldwide and …

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No Contest

Pittsburgh’s arts and culture sector outperforms many of its peer cities when it comes to arts participation, organizations per capita and economic impact, but equity issues persist, according to a new from the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council. Attendance of arts and culture events dwarfs that generated by the region’s professional sports teams combined—Steelers included. “It’s …

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Local Unemployment Rises

Unemployment in the Pittsburgh region climbed to 4.5 percent in December, an increase of two-tenths of a percent from the month before and a three-tenths of a percent increase over the rate reported 12 months earlier. The national unemployment rate in December was 3.5 percent. Pennsylvania’s rate was 4.5 percent. Unemployment rates rose in each …

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