Regional News

Degrees of Influence

Question: Who in Allegheny County is more likely to own the home they live in—residents with a college degree, those with some college or other post-secondary schooling, or those who never took their formal education beyond high school? It’s not the person with a college degree. Some 72 percent of residents with no more than …

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Pittsburgh Unemployment Hits Dramatic New Low

Southwestern Pennsylvania opened the year with the lowest unemployment the region has seen in nearly 50 years. Pittsburghers began 2019 working in full force, as the unemployment rate fell to its lowest point since February 1970 and dropped beneath the national jobless rate. Unemployment in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area fell one percent in …

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Local Economy Stays Healthy

Pittsburgh’s spirited bid fell short of landing Amazon’s second headquarters and the 25,000 jobs it promised last year, but the southwestern Pennsylvania economy continued encouraging trends in job growth, wages and unemployment on its own. Without the jolt of such a major employment stimulus, the region’s hopes are pinned on creating jobs with the companies …

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Finding the Green for Green Spaces

Gathering Place in Tulsa, Okla. was named the best new attraction in America last year by USA Today. It’s a sprawling $465 million park with lakes, gardens, wetlands and an extravagant playground. Essentially, it’s a public park, built and maintained with private dollars, and in that regard, it’s an exception as urban public parks go. …

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The Pittsburgh Flip

Tom Maiden has been renting in the city of Pittsburgh for decades. He has a well-paid job as manager of user services at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, and while he’s never shut the door on the idea of buying a home, the ease and convenience of renting is too compelling. “While renting might be slightly …

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Never-Ending Gap

The wide gap between incomes earned by white and black workers is a national phenomenon that won’t go away. And it’s particularly severe in southwestern Pennsylvania. African Americans living in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area earn 48 percent less than white residents on average, 2017 U.S. Census Bureau median income data suggest. Income influences …

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More People Are Leaving the Region. Does It matter?

Sometime in 2008, more people began moving into the cities and suburbs of southwestern Pennsylvania from other parts of the country than were leaving for places and opportunities elsewhere. It was a watershed moment, the long-awaited reversal of a decades-long trend of being on the losing end of U.S. migration patterns. It proved to be …

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The Parks Puzzle

While the origin of the expression, “a walk in the park,” is unclear, it’s a safe bet the author wasn’t a planner trying to stitch urban parks and trails together to create flowing greenways throughout a city like Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh’s bountiful and diverse parks range from popular destinations, such as Schenley Park in the heart …

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How Healthy are Allegheny County Residents?

In their own view, people in Allegheny County are generally healthier than the nation’s population. They’re also smoking less. Only 16 percent of county residents overall described their general health as fair or poor in the Pittsburgh Regional Quality of Life Survey conducted in June. Nationally, 18.4 percent of Americans say they’re in fair or …

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Lowest in Decades

Unemployment in southwestern Pennsylvania fell again in December, ending a year that saw the jobless rate slip to levels last seen when the region’s steel industry still ruled the local economy. The unemployment rate in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area was 4.2 percent for December 2018, down .4 percent from December 2017, according to …

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Jobs Added In Region

The Pittsburgh region closed out 2018 with an uptick in employment opportunities as employers added 17,100 jobs in December, a year-over-year increase of 0.8 percent dating to December 2017, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. December’s numbers suggest that job creation remained positive in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area throughout 2018. But, …

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Mandating Affordable Housing: A Complex Zoning Challenge

One Pittsburgh neighborhood could soon test a brand of zoning that requires developers to include affordable housing in new market-rate projects as a way to build the inventory of units available for residents earning less than the city’s median income. Pittsburgh recently joined cities in 25 states that have adopted some form of inclusionary zoning, …

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Desperate for Affordable Housing, Cities Try Rewriting Zoning Laws

The last Penn Plaza apartments were vacated on a cold February day in 2017, ending an exodus of 200 tenants from one of the largest complexes of affordable housing in Pittsburgh. News that the private owner planned to raze the apartments to accommodate upscale development caught the city off guard a year earlier and taxed …

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Local Unemployment Slides Lower

Unemployment fell in November throughout southwestern Pennsylvania, continuing the downward trend seen for most of 2018. But peer regions did a better job whittling away at their unemployment rates, as has also been the case over the past year. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area fell .7 percent, from 4.9 …

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Local Jobs Growing Slowly

Employers in southwestern Pennsylvania continued to add to their payrolls as 2018 comes to a close. But they did so at a slower pace than most other peer regions. The seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area gained 10,000 jobs between November 2017 and November 2018—a .9 percent year-over-year increase, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. …

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The Quality of Life Survey Results Are In

Allegheny County residents say their quality of life has improved since they were last surveyed seven years ago, with more of them reporting rising incomes and expressing greater confidence in the local economy. Pittsburgh’s bid to become Amazon’s new headquarters gets a thumbs-up from a majority of county residents, who also favor loosening the reins …

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Paychecks on the Rise

Wages in southwestern Pennsylvania are rising steadily. In fact, the rate of increase was greater than all but two of the 15 Pittsburgh Today’s benchmark regions in the second quarter of 2018. The average weekly wage in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area was $1,042 in the second quarter of 2018, according to the latest …

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Housing Prices Rise

Housing prices in the Pittsburgh region continue to climb, but not at the same rate as the hot real estate markets in some of Pittsburgh Today’s benchmark regions. Houses in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area appreciated 6.23 percent from the 3rd quarter in 2017 to the 3rd quarter this year, according to data from …

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Soda Tax Works in Philly, but Officials Here Aren’t Sure They Can Do It

Taxes on sugary beverages seem like a sweet deal with their potential to whittle down obesity and diabetes rates while boosting city revenues to help pay for things like better schools and parks. Yet, they require broad public and political support to adopt over industry opposition. Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle and several other cities …

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Airing Concern

Historically lower ozone pollution levels in southwestern Pennsylvania do not impress residents of Allegheny County whose concern is rising over the quality of the air they breathe. Seven years ago, air quality wasn’t a problem in the minds of 47 percent of county residents. Today, only 32 percent of Allegheny County residents share that view, …

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Unemployment Stays Low

Southwestern Pennsylvania still enjoys relatively low unemployment, but the region’s rate remains higher than the national average. The Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased from 4.8 percent in October 2017 to 4.2 percent in October 2018, according to recently released data from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.7 percent in October. “The nation’s unemployment …

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Healthier, Wealthier and Wiser: Are Cities with Soda Taxes Better Off?

Improving city schools and parks may not have been novel campaign promises, but when it came to funding such aspirations, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney had something new to say. He championed the Philadelphia Beverage Tax, a 1.5-cents-per-ounce tax on sweetened beverages to help fund schools, pre-kindergarten classes, parks and libraries. Last year, Philadelphia became the …

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