Regional News

Virus Still Seen as Threat; Consumer Optimism Slows

Southwestern Pennsylvanians don’t believe that the COVID-19 pandemic is over, but continuing to wear a mask is something fewer and fewer are willing to do, a new survey suggests. Meanwhile, consumer confidence in the local economy dipped in June and optimism among residents about their personal financial situations fell for the first time this year. …

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The Curtain Rises, At Last

On an evening in early June, people lounged in camp chairs and blankets on the grass at Point State Park, lines formed at food booths on the edge of the lawn and people stood shoulder-to-shoulder, swaying to the sounds of blues rock and soul music performed by Celisse on the main stage. It was more …

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Region Adds Jobs, but Needs More

The Pittsburgh region welcomed back thousands of jobs in June but will need sustained gains to climb back to pre-pandemic employment levels. The seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area gained 57,800 jobs from June 2020 to June 2021, including 9,300 jobs since May 2021. “Jobs are up more than you would seasonally expect here for the …

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Unemployment Falls and Labor Force Plunges

Unemployment fell sharply in southwestern Pennsylvania last month. But the good news is tempered by continued contraction of the regional labor force, which plunged to its lowest level since June 1991, according to the latest Pennsylvania Department of Labor data. Unemployment in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area dropped one full percentage point — from …

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Pandemic’s Disruptive Path Still Haunts the Unemployed

Fallout from the pandemic is discouraging a significant number of unemployed southwestern Pennsylvanians from looking for work, even as businesses reopen and COVID cases decline, according to a recent survey. Caring for children, dependent older adults and others was the most common reason for not looking for work that was given by unemployed workers who …

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As Unemployment Falls, Local Labor Force Stalls

Unemployment in southwestern Pennsylvania ticked down in April, but the region’s labor force failed to grow much beyond where it was a year earlier, when it had shrunk during the height of pandemic-related business closures and restrictions. Unemployment in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area dipped from 7.6 percent in March 2021 to 7.4 percent …

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Pandemic Population Shifts, Favoring Affordable Places

Stephan Whitaker listened as speculation that COVID-19 might kindle a profound exodus from urban America intensified as the pandemic dragged on. After all, tens of millions of people were forced to work remotely, leaving them less tethered to the workplace than ever before and freer to move. Whitaker, a policy economist at the Federal Reserve …

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Seasonal Hiring Boosts Local Jobs

Seasonal jobs returned to the Pittsburgh region in April, but a snap back to a pre-pandemic economy remains elusive, according the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area gained 15,200 jobs from March to April 2021 — a 1.4 percent gain, according to the BLS. “It’s …

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Vaccinations, Fewer Cases Brighten COVID Outlook

Last month saw more encouraging signs that southwestern Pennsylvania is turning the corner in the battle to regain normalcy after a year of living under the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 2 of 3 people have been vaccinated against COVID in Allegheny County, one of the highest rates in Pennsylvania, according to state Health Department data. …

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Consumer Confidence Trending up in Region

Confidence in the economy and their personal financial situation is rising among consumers in southwestern Pennsylvania as pandemic restrictions on businesses ease and the COVID vaccine reaches more people. But confidence in the local economy and their own employment outlook remain much lower than before the pandemic, despite the recent surge in optimism, according to …

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Unemployment Stable but Labor Force Shrinks

Unemployment in the Pittsburgh region held steady in March, but the local workforce continued to contract as it has throughout the pandemic. The seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 7.5 percent from February to March 2021, according to data from the state Department of Labor’s Center for Workforce Information & …

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Region Adds Jobs, but Growth Is Slow

Employers in the Pittsburgh region added workers to their payrolls in March, but the modest job gains were a weak signal of recovery from the damage inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic, according the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area gained about 9,000 jobs from February …

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February Jobs Report: Still Dismal

The Pittsburgh region continued to hemorrhage jobs in February, according recently released data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area lost 82,400 jobs between February 2020 and February 2021, amounting to a 7.8 percent decrease over the year. Job losses in the region exceeded the 6.7 percent average decline …

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Pittsburgh Region’s Labor Force Shrinks Dramatically (and Unemployment Rises)

The Pittsburgh region’s unemployment rate climbed and thousands of workers in the region left the labor force in January as the COVID-19 pandemic continued batter the local economy. Unemployment rose from 6.8 percent in December to 7.6 percent in January, Pennsylvania labor data suggests. The January increase is more dramatic when compared to January 2020, …

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As More Get Vaccinated, Local Hesitancy Subsides

The number of southwestern Pennsylvanians open to being vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus is surging as the local vaccine rollout gains steam and public hesitancy wanes, even among those who had been steadfast in their refusal to get the shots, a new survey suggests. But the increased willingness to get vaccinated coincides with widespread dissatisfaction …

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Jobs Report Bleak

Job losses in the Pittsburgh region continued to mount in January, and revised data reveal that the troubling losses experienced across industry sectors last year were worse than first reported, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area lost about 85,000 jobs between January 2020 and January 2021 — …

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Allegheny County Meets Air-Quality Standard for First Time in Decades

After lagging most of the nation for decades, Allegheny County has managed to meet the minimum federal health standard for one of the most harmful of the major air pollutants, county health department data suggest. Levels of fine particulate pollution, known as PM2.5, averaged 11.1 micrograms per cubic meter of air over the last three …

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Pandemic Saps Confidence in Jobs Outlook, Economy

Concern about their jobs and the local and national economies is widespread among people in southwestern Pennsylvania as the COVID-19 pandemic drags into its second year. In January, their confidence in all three fell to some of the lowest levels since the region’s first case of the coronavirus was reported 11 months ago, a new …

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Getting Vaccinated Gains Popularity

Supplies are short and the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine is slow, but the willingness to get the shots is sharply rising across southwestern Pennsylvania, a new survey suggests. And hesitancy over getting vaccinated is fading the most among non-whites. Some 60 percent of southwestern Pennsylvanians said they were ready to get the shot in …

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Workers Lose Jobs, Labor Force Shrinks

Thousands of workers continued to exit the southwestern Pennsylvania labor force, and the local unemployment rate ticked upward as the pandemic year of 2020 drew to a close. The seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose from 6.7 percent in November to 6.8 percent in December 2020, according to the Pennsylvania Department …

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Local COVID Cases Trail Benchmark Regions

COVID-19 infections slowed last month in Allegheny County, keeping the rate of new cases of the coronavirus below the national average and lower than most metropolitan counties. But the encouraging drop in new infections following the New Year holiday is tempered by frustration over a slow roll-out of the two available vaccines and concern over …

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Job Losses Mount

The Pittsburgh region shed more jobs in December, offering further evidence that the local economy’s recovery from the coronavirus recession has slowed. The seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area lost 5,300 jobs from November to December last year, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. And employers shed 86,300 workers from their payrolls in November …

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