Economy & Business

90.5 WESA explores the regional economy, as well as covering the issues that ordinary Pittsburghers face in their working lives.

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Entrepreneurs and start-ups need room to grow, but office space can be expensive and leases require commitment would-be business owners aren't always comfortable with.

Gabriel N. Coffey

For more than 20 years, Terry Burns has lived with a munitions plant virtually in her backyard. She sells vegetables and lawn ornaments out of her home on a small country road in Jamestown, Pa.: population 617.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny Health Network's parent company Highmark is launching a pilot program to reimburse emergency services companies, even when patients don't end up at the hospital.

Currently, most insurance companies won't cover EMS treatment of a patient unless they're taken to a hospital. This means people sometimes end up in the ER for conditions that could be treated on site.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Millions of Americans work outside, in agriculture and fishing, construction and shipping, and in the burgeoning outdoor hospitality industry. While it may seem dreamy to office workers the world over, people who work outside often face tougher conditions, from longer hours or seasonal work to how much their bodies can take. In this episode of Still Working, we talk with a minor league baseball playera dairy farmer, and a City of Pittsburgh lifeguard. Each of their workplaces carries a whiff of nostalgia: the glory of a summer ballgame, the steadfastness of the small American farmer, the sweet relief of the pool on a scorcher of a summer day. But they’re also challenging places to work.

Casinos Ask State Court To Shut Down New iLottery Program

Aug 22, 2018
palottery.com

Pennsylvania casinos asked a court Wednesday to shut down the state's new iLottery program, arguing the internet-based games simulate slot machines and casino-style gambling in violation of state law.

The complaint against the Revenue Department, which includes the Pennsylvania Lottery, said the iLottery games mimic slot machines found in casinos and online.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

About 2,000 postal workers rallied Tuesday outside the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, protesting a Trump administration proposal to privatize the U.S. Postal Service. The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) is holding their biennial convention in Pittsburgh.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Pennsylvania's unemployment rate hit a new post-recession low, as payrolls crept upward to a new record high.

The state Department of Labor and Industry said Friday that Pennsylvania's unemployment rate dropped one-tenth of a percentage point to 4.2 percent in July, the lowest point since 2007.

The national rate is 3.9 percent.

A survey of households found Pennsylvania's civilian labor force grew by 7,000, as employment rose and unemployment shrank.

Heather Ainsworth / AP

Sports betting is teed up in Pennsylvania, but it won't be up and running for the Sept. 6 start of the National Football League season.

Jakob Lazzaro / 90.5 WESA

Josh McIntyre moved to Pittsburgh two years ago after growing up in Latrobe, Pa. Standing in a back aisle of the North Side’s Giant Eagle on Cedar Avenue during a quiet evening, he said the store is the sole option in the neighborhood.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

The union representing Giant Eagle workers has ratified a new three-year contract with the regional grocer.

Tentrr, The Airbnb Of Camping, Comes To Pennsylvania

Aug 4, 2018
Mary Esch / AP

It's not like Scott and Christina Dietrich have anything against traditional camping.

401(K) 2012/Flickr

Pennsylvania’s minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. That’s at least $1 per hour less than the six states surrounding the commonwealth.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

Wall Street has given the agricultural sector a boost after Trump administration said it is preparing a plan that would send billions in aid to U.S. farmers hurt by tariffs.

CF Industries Holding and Mosaic Company both traded up more than 3 percent earlier in the day but ended Tuesday with more modest gains. CF Industries finished up less than 1 percent, while Mosaic added 2.3 percent.

Deere & Co. ended with a 3.2 percent gain. Shares in Archer-Daniels-Midland and FMC Corp. also rose.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Pennsylvania saw its unemployment rate drop for the second straight month, hitting a new post-recession low, as payrolls expanded slightly.

The state Department of Labor and Industry said Friday that Pennsylvania's unemployment rate dropped two-tenths of a percentage point to 4.3 percent in June. The national rate is 4 percent.

A survey of households found Pennsylvania's civilian labor force contracted again, this time by 1,000, falling further below its 2012 record high as employment rose and unemployment shrank.

Online Gambling Petitions Are Rolling In Ahead Of Pennsylvania's Deadline

Jul 16, 2018
Wayne Parry / AP

Applications to operate casino-style gambling online in Pennsylvania were rolling in ahead of Monday's deadline for the state's casino owners to get a license at a discounted rate of $10 million.

The deadline arrived as Pennsylvania is in the midst of an aggressive gambling expansion as the state scrounges for cash to shore up its treasury.

Under a law signed late last year by Gov. Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania became the fourth state to legalize online casino gambling, joining Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware.

Governor Tom Wolf / flickr

Gov. Tom Wolf and Treasurer Joe Torsella say Pennsylvania state government's improving fiscal stability means it shouldn't need a short-term liquidity loan in the just-started fiscal year.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

The YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh is shutting down three branches at the end of August as part of its efforts to get out of debt. The affected locations are in Penn Hills, Wilmerding and Coraopolis.

Jakob Lazzaro / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh is getting its second medical marijuana dispensary after Cresco Yeltrah+, or CY+, opened its Strip District location Tuesday.

Amy Sisk / WESA

For Connie Ferris, acting as DJ at Benner’s Meadow Run campground is part of the allure of camping.

 

The music, along with shared meals and campfires amid a string of RVs parked here for the summer, helps make the place feel like a community.

 

Ferris spends half the week at the Fayette County campground. In the evenings, she connects her phone to a portable speaker and takes song requests.

 

Wolf Proposes Looser Licensing Rules For Barbers, Other Jobs

Jun 14, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania's governor wants to stop mandating professional licenses for 13 types of jobs, calling current regulations a barrier to employment.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf plans to release a study on Thursday of the state's professional licensure rules and proposals to improve them.

More than a million state residents currently hold professional licenses.

The report from Wolf's Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs says some licenses are valuable in setting standards and protecting consumers.

Dan Moore, a 58-year-old steel mill worker, gives the president an A+ on everything from tax cuts to foreign policy, but he is not so sure about tariffs.

"We need tariffs, but when it starts to impact the company where you work ... you're thinking, well wait a minute, time out!" he said.

Moore is worried the tariffs might cost him his job. The mill where he works, NLMK Pennsylvania, in the town of Farrell, not far from the border with Ohio, employs 750 workers and is a subsidiary of Novolipetsk Steel, or NLMK, Russia's top steelmaker.

Nam Y. Huh / AP

Dick's Sporting Goods' fiscal first-quarter performance topped Wall Street's view, bolstered partly by strong online sales. 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania ranks fifth in the nation when it comes to states carrying the highest amount of credit card debt with $33.2 billion.

Jenn Durfey / Flickr

After a long, and at times seemingly endless winter, western Pennsylvanians are ready to travel for Memorial Day. 

Firms Sued Over Incinerator Deal That Left Harrisburg Broke

May 23, 2018
Carolyn Kaster / AP

A lawsuit filed Monday blames lawyers, engineers and financial experts for a Harrisburg trash incinerator project that nearly bankrupted the city, calling it "the worst municipal financial disaster" in Pennsylvania history.

The state and the city on Monday sued four law firms, two financial entities and an engineering company for their roles in the project that drove the city into state receivership and triggered a budget crisis that is still playing out.

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh-area housing market is booming, according to new data from West Penn Multi-List, which collects real estate data from 17 counties in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Wikipedia Commons

Allegheny Health Network has announced it will raise its minimum wage for full-time employees to $15 an hour by 2021. The move comes two years after UPMC said it would do the same.

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania's payrolls crept to another record high in April, while the unemployment rate inched down to a post-recession low as the labor pool shrank.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Steamfitters Local 449 is revving up recruitment for its apprenticeship program this summer, citing an upcoming need for construction workers. 

Gene J. Puskar / AP

City officials are acknowledging that representatives from Amazon visited the Steel City last month. Calling it a "real estate" visit, Mayor Bill Peduto said their one-day stopover included lots of questions about the amenities, housing and transit required for an estimated 50,000 employees.

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