Regional News

The View from Erie

Peering out at the choppy waves from the shore of Lake Erie, the businessman sees opportunity. The fisherman envisions a trout dinner. The tourist anticipates a boat ride. The farmer appreciates the plentiful water supply. The environmentalist frets about lake pollution. James Grunke, president of the Erie Regional Chamber & Growth Partnership, sees all of …

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PLACE YOUR BETS

In the mid-1960s, public- and private-sector leaders in southwestern Pennsylvania threw their support behind an effort to diversify the region’s steel industry-reliant economy by developing the emerging rapid-transportation market in their backyard. Their hopes were pinned to Skybus, an innovative, automated transportation system that allowed for congestion-free travel on tracks high above streets and highways. …

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College Students Wanted

When the United States slid into the Great Recession, throwing millions out of work, America went back to school. Older adults enrolling in community colleges or other two-year programs led a surge in enrollment that saw colleges add 2.5 million students from 2007-2010, a 14 percent enrollment spike. School administrators were elated. “We all thought, …

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On a Pedestal, Spring 2022

A Steeler for LifeWas it really 18 years ago that Ben Roethlisberger took the field as a rookie with the Steelers? How the years have come and gone. And while last season’s Steelers eked out a winning season with an unlikely playoff appearance that ended in lopsided defeat, the team gave us something that’s a …

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Unemployment Drops; More Workers Needed

Unemployment ticked down in southwestern Pennsylvania to begin 2022, but the region’s labor force woes persisted, according to the latest Pennsylvania Department of Labor data.   In January, 5.1 percent of workers in seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area were unemployed –a drop from 5.3 percent in December 2021. But the unemployment rate in the region remained …

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Weak Regional Jobs Picture Continues

Employers in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area shed 25,000 jobs from December 2021 to January 2022 – a 2.2 percent monthly loss, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Seasonal job losses are typical in January, but other data offer little hope that local jobs will snap back to pre-COVID levels. Annual revisions …

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Infrastructure Bonanza

It promises to be a busy couple of years for Vincent Valdes. As the federal government begins to pump $1.2 trillion into the nation’s infrastructure, the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission he leads is in the thick of discussions around how to spend the region’s share, which will be counted in hundreds of millions of dollars and …

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A Troubling Economic Picture

The Pittsburgh metropolitan statistical area’s economy enters 2022 in much the same condition as it exhibited prior to the pandemic. That is, growing, but doing so at a pace below the national average and under the yoke of subpar labor market conditions. Even though the bar has been lowered as to what economic growth targets …

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Taking the Pre-Midterm Election Pulse

A billboard along U.S. route 22 just west of Johnstown offers up to $54,000 and “guaranteed employment” for incoming nursing students at nearby Mount Aloysius College. As the billboard signifies, higher education institutions have taken a lead role in Johnstown’s transition from steel to health care as the primary economic driver. The burgeoning health care …

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Pittsburgh City Council Wants a Year to Look into Annexation

Wilkinsburg residents will have to wait another year to learn whether they’ll get a chance to vote on the future of their borough. Pittsburgh City Council leaders said Wednesday that they won’t approve annexing the boroughthis year. Instead, they pushed the deadline for the decision to 2023 to give them more time toinvestigate the implications …

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Local Unemployment Drops, But So Does the Labor Force

Unemployment plunged in southwestern Pennsylvania to close out 2021, but the shrinking number of people choosing to leave the workforce remains a big problem, according to the latest Pennsylvania Department of Labor data.   In December, 5.3 percent of workers in seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area were unemployed – down from 5.7 percent in November 2021. …

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Facing Facts and the Future

Another year has begun with uncertainty clouding the future of Wilkinsburg, where residents wait to learn whether their borough, beset with high property taxes, severe population loss and scant prospects for reversing either, will remain independent or be annexed as a new neighborhood of the City of Pittsburgh, its more stable neighbor. Vanessa Buffry sees …

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What the New Mayor Faces

Sophie Masloff became mayor as the city of Pittsburgh was mourning the death of her popular predecessor, Richard Caliguiri. Tom Murphy was elected to the office in 1994, when the city teetered on the brink of financial calamity as the region scrambled to reinvent itself after the collapse of its steel industry. The mayors who …

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Region Adds Jobs, But Growth Is Slow

Jobs edged up slightly in the Pittsburgh region in November, but not enough to signal a return to pre-COVID employment levels in the new year. Employers in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area added 2,000 jobs from October to November — a 0.2 percent monthly gain, according to recent data from the U.S. Bureau of …

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Lower Unemployment Reported In Region

The unemployment rate in southwestern Pennsylvania dipped below six percent in October, but a shrinking labor force remains a challenge for employers looking to hire, according to the latest Pennsylvania Department of Labor data. In October, 5.9 percent of workers in seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area were looking for work—down from 6.1 percent in September …

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Region Gains Jobs; Braces For Infrastructure Surge

Jobs ticked up in the Pittsburgh region in October, but failed to put much of a dent in the number of jobs lost during the pandemic. Employers in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area added 9,000 more jobs in October than they did one month earlier, according to recent data from the U.S. Bureau of …

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Post-Pandemic Education Survey

More than a year after COVID-19 disrupted the education of 115,000 elementary, middle and high school students in Allegheny County, residents are concerned that it has impeded their progress and favor rethinking the way public schools go about teaching them. According to the results of a new survey, schools generally earn passing grades for the …

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Unemployment, Labor Force Numbers Disappoint

Students returned to college campuses in September, but they failed to trigger a much-needed surge in the southwestern Pennsylvania labor force and employment, according to the latest Pennsylvania Department of Labor data.   At the same time, the region’s unemployment rate moved little, dipping from 6.2 percent in August to 6.1 percent in September – considerably …

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Survey: Businesses Can’t Find Workers

Southwestern Pennsylvania businesses are navigating a rough patch in their recovery from the disruptions caused by the COVID pandemic, with many delaying plans for returning to normal operations and most reporting trouble finding workers to fill open positions, a regional survey suggests. The findings reflect problems reported across the U.S. as the Delta variant of …

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Reforming Education on the Fly

It was against the backdrop of war and pandemic that public education in America underwent radical innovation during the early decades of the 20th century. While the nation endured World War I and the Spanish flu, public education was quietly reshaped by a surge in public school enrollment and a wave of reform. It was …

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Office work

Local Unemployment On A Holding Pattern

Southwestern Pennsylvania’s economy held steady in August with the unemployment rate and labor force reaching a plateau, according to the latest Pennsylvania Department of Labor data.   Unemployment in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area remained at 6.2 percent in August 2021—the same percentage of workers unemployed in the region in July. Although the rate failed …

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Pittsburgh Gets High Marks as a Place for Innovation

Pittsburgh has one of the world’s top emerging startup ecosystems from which companies are born from new ideas, talented innovators and investment in their development, according to a new report. California’s Silicon Valley is still far and away the best ecosystem for startups, followed by London, New York City, Beijing and Boston. But Pittsburgh is …

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