Julia Fraser

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

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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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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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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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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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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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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Region Adds Jobs

Pittsburgh may have lost its bid for Amazon’s second headquarters, but the region picked up more jobs in October. The Pittsburgh region gained 10,869 jobs between October 2017 and October 2018, a 1.3 percent increase over the year, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Other regions, however, continued to add jobs at …

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Unemployment Slides Lower

September ended with another month of low unemployment in the Pittsburgh region, but not as low as the rest of the nation. The Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased from 4.9 percent in September 2017 to 4.1 percent in September 2018, according to recently released data from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor …

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Region Trails In Job Growth

More jobs were added to the payroll in the Pittsburgh region in September, but not at pace with the rest of the nation. The Pittsburgh region gained 8,800 jobs between September 2017 and September 2018, a .8 percent increase over the year, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That rate of growth …

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Unemployment Holds Steady, Near Low Rate of the Year

The Pittsburgh region’s unemployment rate in August remained at 4 percent for the second consecutive month, according to recently released data from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. The August and July rates represent the second-lowest unemployment levels reported in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area this year and are only slightly higher than …

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New Jobs Trickle into Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh area employers continued to add jobs in August, but at a much slower pace than what is seen across other Pittsburgh Today benchmark regions. The Pittsburgh region gained 4,800 jobs between August 2017 and August 2018, a .5 percent increase. The rate of job growth in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area falls below …

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Up in Smoke

Dan Ward is 27 and lives in Pittsburgh’s Garfield neighborhood. He is mostly vegan, rides his bike to work and walks in the park as often as he can. He also vaped for several years, using an electronic cigarette to satisfy a need to “have one vice to balance my otherwise healthy lifestyle.” Diane Lavsa …

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Unemployment Down, Workforce Shrinks

The temperature may be up, but the unemployment rate in the Pittsburgh region keeps dropping, closing the gap separating it from national rate, which it has long hovered above. Year-over-year, the unemployment rate in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area fell .9 percentage points, from 4.9 percent in July 2017 to 4.0 in July 2018. …

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Region’s Demographics Changing

Southwestern Pennsylvania is starting to look more like the United States as the region’s population becomes more diverse, the latest U.S. Census Bureau estimates suggest. The demographic shifts are most significant in Allegheny County and the City of Pittsburgh, where the Asian and Hispanic populations have been on the rise. In the five-year period from …

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Region Adds Jobs

Employers continue to add to their payrolls in southwestern Pennsylvania in May, although there are signs it might be slowing. The region added 12,800 jobs from May 2017 to May 2018—a 1.2 percent increase, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. “There’s been little bit of slowing over the growth rates that have registered …

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Lower Unemployment, Smaller Labor Force

Unemployment fell in southwestern Pennsylvania in April compared to one year earlier, but the region’s labor force continues to shrink. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area decreased from 5.2 percent in April 2017 to 4.3 percent in April 2018, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Within the …

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2017 Was Good For Business

Information technology and robotics lead the region as the most active sectors for business deals and jobs in the Pittsburgh region, according to the 2017 Allegheny Conference on Community Development Business Investment Scorecard. The scorecard is an index which considers the number of new deals in the region, capital investment, and jobs created and retained …

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