Regional News

People Are Finding New Pandemic Diversions—Both Outdoors and In

Restaurants, bars and movie theaters were shuttered. Kennywood wrapped up its season more than a month early. The Pirates banned fans. The Steelers banned tailgating. COVID-19 has upended many favorite social, cultural and leisure pastimes that offered southwestern Pennsylvanians moments of respite. But at the same time, pandemic-related disruptions of traditional entertainment have fueled surging …

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Unemployment Drops to 6.5 Percent

The seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from 7.2 percent in October to 6.5 percent in November, according to Pennsylvania Department of Labor Center for Workforce Information & Analysis program data. “The unemployment rate is high, but not exceptional,” said Chris Briem, regional economist at the University of Pittsburgh Center for …

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As Local Virus Cases Surge, Other Regions Fare Worse

The surge in COVID-19 cases continued in December across southwestern Pennsylvania, where all but one county saw infections rise, some dramatically. Still, the region fared better than most in metropolitan America. Meanwhile, new survey data suggests the number of southwestern Pennsylvanians willing to get vaccinated against the virus increased during November, when two drug makers …

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Consumer Worries Mount as Pandemic Toll Worsens

Southwestern Pennsylvania businesses face the prospect of a rough holiday season with a large share of shoppers expecting to spend less than they did last year as the relentless COVID-19 pandemic continues to wear down consumer confidence. Confidence in the economy, personal finances and prospects for employment fell in November to some of the lowest …

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Jobs Climb Slowly in November

Employers in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area added 1,300 jobs to their payrolls from October 2020 to November 2020. But the bump in hiring still left the region 85,900 jobs short of the number on the books in November 2019, which is a 7.3 percent decline, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. …

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Pitt Scientists Gain on COVID

In February, University of Pittsburgh scientists began scanning their library of human antibodies for any that might have the potential to tame the novel COVID-19 virus. With some 1 trillion antibodies to sort through, it was like looking for a needle in a haystack. They found one in less than a week using techniques that …

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Unemployment Drops Again in October

The seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from 8.3 percent in September to 7.2 percent in October, according to data from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor Center for Workforce Information & Analysis program. “7.2 percent is high, but is not extraordinary,” said Chris Briem, regional economist at the University of Pittsburgh …

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CEOs Back a Sustainable Post-COVID Economy

As the pandemic rages on, a group of Pittsburgh business leaders is considering how to contribute to a more environmentally, economically and socially sustainable region in the post-COVID world. “Now is the time for businesses from all sectors to make public their actions toward an economic recovery that benefits everyone,” said Steve Malnight, president and …

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Empty and Ailing, Pittsburgh Stadiums Seek Money

With the pandemic keeping fans at home, Pittsburgh’s major sports teams are facing significant revenue declines for the year. However, to varying degrees, merchandise and media revenues are softening the blow. Their landlord—The Sport and Exhibition Authority (SEA)—is not as fortunate. The SEA is the city-county authority that owns PPG Paints Arena, PNC Park and …

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Pittsburgh Jobs Creep Back in October

Employers in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area added 11,900 jobs from September to October, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. While the gains are encouraging, it remains a bruising year in terms of local payrolls. The Pittsburgh region lost about 86,000 jobs between October 2019 and October 2020—a 7.1 percent …

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Pandemic Tests Resiliency of State’s Small Businesses

Most small businesses in southwestern Pennsylvania and across the state have found ways to adapt to COVID-related sales losses, social restrictions and other bruising conditions. But the lingering pandemic has darkened their outlook. Nearly one third of business leaders doubt conditions will return to pre-pandemic levels even after the virus is tamed, according to a …

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Local COVID Cases Are Second-Lowest Among Benchmark Regions

COVID-19 cases rose 29 percent in Allegheny County during the first two weeks of the month. Still, the county’s infection rate is only half the national average—an indication of how cities and towns across the United States are struggling to blunt the most aggressive surge of the coronavirus since the pandemic began nine months ago. …

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Regional Unemployment Falls to 8.2 Percent

Unemployment in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area dipped to 8.2 percent in September—a drop of 2.4 percentage points from August, according to data from Pennsylvania Department of Labor Center for Workforce Information & Analysis program. Despite the improvement, unemployment in the region remained well above pre-pandemic levels. In September 2019, the unemployment rate was …

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Employers Add Jobs, but Payrolls Still Lag

The Pittsburgh region continued to add jobs in September, but overall employment numbers reveal an economy still hobbled by the COVID-19 pandemic. Employers in the seven county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area added 16,000 jobs in September, according to recently U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Still, the region has lost more than 90,000 jobs since …

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Stubborn Addiction Crisis Grows More Worrisome

Southwestern Pennsylvania entered 2020 dealing with a stubborn public health crisis. Drug overdose deaths, despite a briefly encouraging period of decline, were rising again. Three months later, the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, raising the risk of addiction and relapse, those who work with addicted men and women say. The pandemic has kindled fear and uncertainty and …

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Reset Button

It was an obscure sign of the concern mounting over the threat the coronavirus pandemic poses to the future of boroughs, cities and townships. For the first time, “voluntary disincorporation,” the idea of allowing municipalities to shed their political boundaries, was on the agenda of the leadership arm of the Congress of Neighboring Communities, an …

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Officials Mull Expanding Civilian Police Watchdogs

Lawmakers in Harrisburg and southwestern Pennsylvania are considering proposals that could expand independent police oversight boards in response to widespread civil unrest ignited by the death of George Floyd, who died while being arrested by Minneapolis police. Last month, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed an executive order creating the Pennsylvania State Law Enforcement Citizen Advisory …

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COVID Hammers Consumer Confidence in Pittsburgh

The COVID-19 pandemic has beaten down southwestern Pennsylvania’s confidence in the local and national economies, employment and personal finances. Even with sentiment rising in the past two months, the outlook of most consumers remains bleak. Confidence has swung wildly since March as consumers for the first time learned what life is like during a global …

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COVID Decks Pittsburgh’s Pro Sports Teams

With stands empty and uncertainty over when and if fans will return, Pittsburgh’s professional sports franchises are bracing for heavy financial shortfalls. Thanks to lucrative media contracts, some pro sports leagues are less vulnerable than others. But overall, the loss of revenue from ticket and concessions sales at stadiums and arenas is a critical hit …

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Domestic Abuse Concerns Rise as the Pandemic Drags On

As the coronavirus gripped the world in the spring, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned of another “shadow” pandemic that could not be slowed by masks or hand washing. “We know lockdowns and quarantines are essential to suppressing COVID-19, but they can trap women with abusive partners,” Guterres said on April 5. “Over the past …

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Pittsburgh Gets Fresh Image

A new branding campaign to raise awareness of southwestern Pennsylvania’s charms and promise is making a bid for attention in a world distracted by pandemic. The brand—“Pittsburgh region. Next is now”—positions the region as an iconic and innovative place poised for the future. Unveiled by the Allegheny Conference on Community Development yesterday, the campaign promotes …

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Local Unemployment Eases

The coronavirus pandemic eased its pressure on employment in the region in August, when unemployment in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area fell to 10.5 percent in August—a drop of 2.3 percentage points from July, according to data from Pennsylvania Department of Labor’s Center for Workforce Information & Analysis program. “The drop in unemployment is …

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