Regional News

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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School Districts See Changes, but Enrollment Holding Steady

Amid uncertainty and rising economic distress, school districts in the Pittsburgh region are reporting relatively steady enrollment numbers entering the new academic year, although demand for online-only education within districts and among cyber charter schools appears to be on the rise. The reopening of schools has been a hot topic of debate in southwestern Pennsylvania …

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Jobs Slowly Return

The coronavirus pandemic’s attack on the Pittsburgh region’s economy slowed in August. Employers in the seven-county Metropolitan Statistical Area added 6,400 jobs to their payrolls from July 2020 to August 2020, according to recently released data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Pittsburgh region lost about 100,500 jobs between August 2019 and August 2020—a …

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How Allegheny County Spends its $212 Million CARES Package

Allegheny County unveiled a new COVID-19 testing center in McKeesport last week as health officials braced for the confluence of the coronavirus outbreak and the approaching flu season. The center, which can perform 200 tests a day, didn’t cost county taxpayers one dime. It is the highest profile example to date of how the county …

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Unemployment Jumped in July

Unemployment soared in southwestern Pennsylvania last month as the coronavirus pandemic continued to weigh on the local economy. The unemployment rate in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area rose from 12.8 percent in June to 14.3 percent in July, according to data from Pennsylvania Department of Labor, Center for Workforce Information & Analysis. An estimated …

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Back to School?

Back-to-school shoppers are scooping up tracksuits, vintage 1990s oversized tees and everything tie-dye. But this year, many local students will debut their first day of school outfit on Zoom or coordinate the look with a face mask when they step on the school bus. Since the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the school year last March, schools …

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Jobs Make up Ground, but Still in Short Supply

Jobs trickled back into the Pittsburgh region in July as many business restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus were lifted. The region gained 6,000 jobs in July from June, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. But the boost isn’t enough to bring the region back its pre-pandemic economy. In July, there …

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‘It’s Been Crazy’: Gun Sales Break Records

Gooch Ionadi has seen spikes in gun sales before. He’s come to expect a surge of buyers at his Smoke ‘N Guns shop when a mass shooting rekindles debate over gun control laws. And presidential elections are busy years, as a rule. But nothing compares to the last four months. “I’m seeing little old women, …

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Futurists Mull What Changes Lie Ahead

The Futurists tried to warn us. For decades, researchers and experts in the field of Strategic Foresight, or Futurism, have warned that the United States is dangerously unprepared for a pandemic. The U.S. Government Accountability Office produced dozens of studies on the topic since the early 2000s. A 2004 forecast report from the National Intelligence …

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