COVID-19

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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On a Pedestal: Good Examples, Port Authority, Robert Levin, Executive Leadership Academy

It’s been an extremely trying time in our country these past six months, with the virus, the fear and uncertainty, the recession, George Floyd’s death and the ensuing protests and riots, the increasing orthodoxy of public discourse, and the pre-election anxiety. Many wonder what has happened to America as waves of fear and cancellation have …

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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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Brave New Campus

In this ever-shifting, precarious time for regional colleges and universities, we would like to thank the leaders of these institutions for taking the time to thoughtfully answer the following questions for our readers: “Given the extraordinary challenges posed by the pandemic, what major changes are in store at your institution for the school year ahead? …

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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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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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Pittsburgh Renters Have Kept up Their Payments—So Far

On a July Pittsburgh afternoon, temperatures soared into the 90s. Public pools were dry, closed by pandemic restrictions. But for mask-wearing residents trickling out of Eastside Bond, a high-end East Liberty apartment complex, their private outdoor pool offered relief. There are new rules: Masks when not swimming; stay six feet apart in and out of …

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Looking for Answers in the Past to Blunt Pandemic Job Losses

At the entrance of Laurel Hill State Park, a bronze statue of a strapping young worker pays homage to the men who built the verdant park with a lake in Somerset County as part of a federal Citizen Conservation Corps created to ease the pain of crippling job losses during the Great Depression. Almost 90 …

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Colleges and Schools Can and Should Open in a Way That Does the Least Harm

Any untimely death is a tragedy. Our youth die in transit to and from schools and universities every year, but these institutions are not shut down as a result. Engaging in life involves some risk of death. COVID-19 deaths in youth are rare. Rational policies should aim to minimize such risks with no expectation of …

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Pandemic Heats Up Housing Market

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted business as usual in the residential real estate industry as it swept through the Pittsburgh region in March. It shut the doors on open houses, cancelled showings and stifled home inspections. But it failed to curb demand. A Howard Hanna real estate agent helped a seller stage a home via Facetime …

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Pandemic Slams Pittsburgh Jobs

The COVID-19 pandemic continued its attack on the Pittsburgh metropolitan job market in May with the region losing 175,800 jobs since May 2019, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. All of Pittsburgh Today’s 15 benchmark regions posted significant job losses in May. The seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area lost 14.6 percent over its jobs …

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Working in the Coronavirus Era

Q. How do you expect the aftermath of the coronavirus to change the working conditions for the American workforce? A. It’s definitely going to change working conditions. It’s also going to change the way we arrange work. Social distancing is going to change the workplace. The recovery is going to be gradual. I think you’re …

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An Eroding Anomaly

The economic fallout of the pandemic threatens to weaken long-struggling fire and ambulance services in southwestern Pennsylvania that were already strapped for cash. Although the way the region’s fire and ambulance services are structured varies, they share daunting challenges including a dearth of new staff and a perennial lack of funding. And social distancing restrictions …

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Pittsburgh in Crisis

Editor’s note: 2020 has been full of calamity and adversity and it’s only June. Whether the pandemic and unprecedented economic shutdown or the more recent protests that have erupted here and across the world, the ordeals have ushered in a year that’s been unrecognizable from any that preceded it.  Photographer John Beale has captured images …

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COVID-19 Survey: Allegheny County Residents React to the Pandemic and Shutdown

Stay-at-home orders, business closures and other social distancing measures taken to slow the spread of the coronavirus in Pennsylvania were appropriate and necessary in the eyes of 70 percent of Allegheny County residents surveyed last week. More than two-thirds reported they’ve suffered no or only minor financial losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. …

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Never Let a Good Crisis Go to Waste

By chance, in early January, I watched a Netflix series called “Pandemic,” so my sensors were attuned early for the virus news from China. I was initially surprised that people were slow to give it credence and that financial markets blithely reached all-time highs Feb. 19. Soon enough though, as virus news swept the globe …

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Billions Ride on Pandemic-Hampered Census

COVID-19 is quietly threatening southwestern Pennsylvania’s share of billions of federal dollars that will be critical if the region is to recover from the pandemic with hopes for a future of growth and vitality intact. For months, the pandemic has disrupted the decennial census, putting at risk efforts to get a complete count of the …

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Pittsburgh’s April Job Loss Is Worst Ever

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the Pittsburgh metropolitan job market with record-breaking force in April, with the region losing 204,500 jobs compared with April of last year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor. Pittsburgh’s loss reflects the employment picture across America as the economic impact of the pandemic intensifies. The United States lost 20.5 million …

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Pandemic Widens Pittsburgh’s Digital Divide

In Pittsburgh and across the nation, the coronavirus pandemic has isolated residents in their homes and shifted huge swaths of public life to the digital world that 1 in 10 people in southwestern Pennsylvania are left out of. Closing longstanding gaps in access to the Internet has taken on new urgency as employers, educators, doctors …

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Pitt Study: Soaring Municipal Failures Loom

More than 100 southwestern Pennsylvania municipalities will be in financial distress next year if the economy can’t shake free from the grip of the coronavirus and prevent budget reserves from being drained and tax revenues from drying up, a new study suggests. Municipal officials, uncertain of the duration of the outbreak and severity of the …

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