Julia Fraser

Julia Fraser is a Pittsburgh Today staff writer and research specialist.

Unemployment Unchanged; Remains Low in Region

The Pittsburgh region’s unemployment didn’t budge from October 2018 to October 2019, but plenty is changing in the region’s economy. Metropolitan Pittsburgh’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 4.1 percent in October, unchanged from October 2018, according to data from Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. The national unemployment rate last month was 3.6 percent. …

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City Parks Fell Short in Funding Until Voters Said OK to New Tax

When City of Pittsburgh residents voted to raise their property taxes to support public parks earlier this month, they chipped away at a major obstacle to the city park system being rated as one of the best in urban America. Voters in November approved a referendum for a .5-mill property tax increase for capital improvements …

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Protecting the Parks

The flat-headed, mucus-covered salamander recently named Pennsylvania’s state amphibian goes by many names: snot otter, lasagna lizard, devil dog, mud-devil, grampus, Allegheny alligator. Most commonly, however, they’re known as the Eastern hellbender. The big, slimy amphibians are found under large, flat rocks in Pennsylvania’s fast-moving rivers and streams, such as the Youghiogheny River. They rarely …

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Where Nature and History Collide

Here are a few state parks in Pennsylvania that offer nature at its most dramatic and some history of what life was like long before barcodes, internet and smart phones. McConnells Mill The park wraps around a restored 19th century gristmill that ground buckwheat, oats and corn with the force of the wild stretch of …

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Region Adds Jobs, But Growth Slows

Employers in southwestern Pennsylvania continued to boost their payrolls in September, but at a slower pace than what has characterized the regional job market over the past year. The seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area added 1,100 jobs from September 2018 to September 2019 – a 0.09 percent year-over-year increase, according to new data from the …

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Workforce Expands, Unemployment Remains Low

The Pittsburgh region’s August unemployment rate bumped from 3.8 percent in July to 3.9, hovering above the national rate but still among the lowest rates in the last 50 years. Year-over-year, the region’s unemployment was down 0.3 percent from 4.2 percent in August 2018, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. Butler County …

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Job Growth Slows

For the second consecutive month, job growth has slowed in southwestern Pennsylvania, and its peer regions posted job growth rates that are among the lowest of the year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The silver lining is that jobs still grew in southwestern Pennsylvania and nearly all the of Pittsburgh Today’s 16 …

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Can Higher Garbage Pickup Fees Reduce Consumption and Waste?

The United States is in the midst of a recycling crisis. Decades of recycling haven’t curbed America’s appetite to consume. It’s increasingly difficult to find someone willing to buy the soda cans, old magazines, milk jugs and pickle jars we recycle. Recycling is getting more expensive. And municipalities are shrinking their recycling programs. “We’re in …

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Unemployment Drops—Labor Force Grows

Southwestern Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate remained below 4 percent in July, hovering slightly higher than the national average as job seekers in the region and across the U.S. continued to find work. Unemployment in the region remained at rates that haven’t been seen since the early months of 1970. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the …

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The Price of Nature’s Beauty

Second in a three-part series: Even modest exploration of Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests reveals their gifts: hidden waterfalls that appear along hiking trails, imposing rock formations bolted with anchors for climbing, lakes created by dams for swimming and boating on warm summer days, and rivers and streams stocked with fish for the catching. Some …

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Job Growth Stalls

Employers in southwestern Pennsylvania hit the brakes on job creation in the region last month. The seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area added only 800 jobs from July 2018 and July 2019—a 0.1 percent year-over-year increase, according to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is the lowest growth rate among Pittsburgh Today’s …

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State’s Innovation Economy Needs a Boost to Compete

Southwestern Pennsylvania’s innovation economy, bolstered by its major research universities, is brimming with potential. But the region and Pennsylvania has its work cut out for them if they want to compete with the likes of San Francisco, Boston and emerging stars, such as Austin, Texas. And realizing that potential begins with a statewide plan and …

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Low Unemployment Settles in the Region

Unemployment in southwestern Pennsylvania held steady in June, hovering below 4 percent as it has for the past few months as workers across the region and nation continue to find and hold onto jobs. In year-over-year comparisons, the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area fell from 4.2 percent in June 2018 …

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Job Growth Slowly Rises

More jobs were added to payrolls in the Pittsburgh region in June, but not at the hot pace of the rest of the nation. The seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area added 9,800 jobs from June 2018 and June 2019—a 0.9 percent year-over-year increase, according to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That …

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Low Unemployment Continues

Workers in southwestern Pennsylvania continue to find jobs as the region notched another month of unemployment below 4 percent in May. The region’s 3.8 percent unemployment rate held over from April, but still hovers above the national average. May continued the year-to-date trend of unemployment diving to depths the region hasn’t seen since the early …

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Local Job Growth Ticks Upward

Employers in southwestern Pennsylvania continued to boost their payrolls in May at a slow but steady pace that has characterized the regional job market over the past few years. The seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area added 9,100 jobs from May 2018 and May 2019 – a 0.9 percent year-over-year increase, according to new data from …

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Encouraging Trend: Unemployment Drops in Region

Southwestern Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate dropped to less than 4 percent in April, hovering slightly higher than the national average as workers in the region and nation continue to find little difficulty finding jobs. Unemployment in the region again fell to rates that haven’t been seen since the early 1970s. The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate in the …

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IT and Robotics Led Business Deals in 2018

Information technology and robotics lead the region as the most active sector for business deals and jobs in the Pittsburgh region for the second year in a row, according to the 2018 Allegheny Conference on Community Development Business Investment Scorecard. The business scorecard is an index which compiles announcements of new deals in the region, …

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Crown Jewels of the Commonwealth

A stand of old-growth hemlocks with trunks nearly four feet in diameter towers over a trail cut along a creek shrouded in mountain laurel that ripples through Laurel Hill State Park, part of one of the largest state park systems in the nation. It rose from a Depression-era work program that employed young men desperate …

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Historically Low Unemployment With a Twist

Unemployment in southwestern Pennsylvania hovered at a historically low level in March, despite revisions that wiped away February’s record low. The unemployment rate in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area was 3.9 percent for March 2019, down .5 percent from March 2018, according to data from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor’s Center for Workforce Information …

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Unemployment Drops As Workforce Expands

Southwestern Pennsylvania saw unemployment continue to fall in February and, over the previous 12 months, added more than 8,000 workers to its workforce, which has struggled to expand in recent years, U.S. Bureau of Labor data show. The unemployment rate in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area dropped to 3.6 percent in February, down from …

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Region Adds Jobs, But Pace Slows

Employers in southwestern Pennsylvania continued to add jobs last month, but there are signs that job creation, which has been on the rise in recent years, could be slowing. The seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area added 6,400 jobs from February 2018 and February 2019—a .6 percent year-over-year increase, according to new data from the U.S. …

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