Economy & Business

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

Amy Sisk / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania does not have the money to provide $100 a week as President Donald Trump pushes states to help pay for a new round of federal unemployment assistance, Gov. Tom Wolf told the state's members of Congress.

Susan Walsh / AP

On Saturday, President Trump had a message for the millions of out-of-work Americans for whom boosted federal unemployment benefits ran out last month: don’t worry.

Jared Murphy / 90.5 WESA


On today's program: Newsroom employees at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette vote to walk out after three and a half years of negotiations failed to produce a new contract; groups in Pittsburgh and across the country work to preserve historic sites significant to communities of color; and amid the pandemic, some museums worry about their futures. 

Keith Srakocic / AP

Union members at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette voted overwhelmingly to go on strike Monday after years of stalled contract negotiations and multiple complaints of labor law violations by Block Communications Inc., the company that owns the newspaper. The announcement to strike was accompanied by strong words for the employer.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Pennsylvania has contacted the U.S. Department of Labor about a loan to prop up its unemployment compensation trust fund as President Donald Trump pushes states to help pay for an extension of federal unemployment benefits.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

When Pennsylvania businesses shut down en masse on March 16 due to the coronavirus, Bloomfield resident Abbey Rideout lost both her jobs within a day. She had worked as a barista at Pittsburgh’s Tazza D’Oro and Crazy Mocha cafés, but nearly five months later, she’s still out of work – and now she's lost a crucial lifeline that helped keep her head above water.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Local restaurant and bar owners plan to gather in Bethel Park Thursday to advance their own plan to manage the risk of COVID-19.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Sitting in a grassy lot along Braddock’s main avenue, Jona Reyes dreams of restoring the energy that she says once coursed through the neighborhood. Since steel’s decline more than 30 years ago, the Mon Valley community has suffered from chronic disinvestment.

PA Business Owners To Wolf: Please Police Mask Requirement So We Don't Have To

Jul 31, 2020
Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

David Evasew is not taking the threat of the pandemic lightly.

Matt Rourke / AP


On today's program: Pittsburgh-area employees filed 100 complaints related to COVID-19 concerns with OSHA in the early months of the pandemic; professional sports teams with racist names and logos consider rebranding; and RealTime Interventions, a local live-arts production company, takes its events online.

Allyson Ruggieri / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvanians who receive unemployment benefits will be short $600 dollars this week; the weekly $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation expired for Pennsylvanians on Saturday, and Congress has yet to decide to renew the additional payment. 

New PA Grant Targets Minority Business Owners Hurt By Coronavirus Shutdown

Jul 23, 2020
Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

On a recent sweltering afternoon, Akeem Dixon and Christine Brown stepped out of their North Philadelphia office to do something that’s become increasingly rare during the COVID-19 shutdown: in-person outreach.

As Deadline Looms To Renew $600 Jobless Benefits, PA ‘Workers Are Terrified’

Jul 22, 2020
Matt Rourke / AP

This week, Congress is considering another pandemic stimulus package, as unemployment remains stubbornly high across the country and coronavirus cases rise nationwide.

Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania’s lottery sales have rebounded after taking a big hit this spring when the statewide shutdown took effect. While other state lotteries are facing huge deficits as people buy fewer tickets when they head out for essential items, Pennsylvania's rebound comes via a spike in online lottery sales, according to PA Lottery executive director Drew Svitko. 

June Jobless Rate Slid Down In Pennsylvania, Payrolls Jumped

Jul 17, 2020
Allyson Ruggieri / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania’s unemployment slid a bit down in June after hitting a pandemic peak in April, but it was well above the national rate even as payrolls rebounded by more 230,000, the state reported Friday.

Tony Dejak / AP

Bucks County members of the Republican Caucus are calling for the House Oversight Committee to look into what they call “the failure of the Unemployment Compensation program” during the coronavirus pandemic.


Pandemic-related shutdowns in Pennsylvania, the nation's No. 2 commercial gambling state, helped knock casino revenue down by 18%, state regulators reported Thursday, and it would have been much worse without the advent of online gambling and sports betting.

Photo by Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA News

On July 10, the day Rivers Casino reopened after a week-long closure that also shuttered bars and restaurant dining rooms in Allegheny County, there were signs the North Side gambling complex was trying not to take unnecessary chances.

Lucy Perkins / 90.5 WESA


On today's program: Amid unemployment rates stuck in the double digits and economic recession, housing prices in Pittsburgh are rebounding; Black women activists from decades ago continue to influence today’s demands for justice and equality; and confusing messages about the coronavirus in Pennsylvania make some question what’s safe. 

Gene J. Puskar / AP


On today's program: As Allegheny County is experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases, officials are trying to slow the pandemic; an update on the U.S. Supreme Court’s latest rulings and a preview of what’s to come; and new legislation regarding Pennsylvania’s DUI laws could mean big changes for medical cannabis patients. 

Pennsylvania Tries Luck Again In Mini-Casino License Auction

Jul 8, 2020
Julie Jacobson / AP

Pennsylvania will again seek to auction a mini-casino license on Sept. 2, under orders from state lawmakers in search of cash for a treasury starved of tax collections from shutdowns to contain the coronavirus.

Courtesy of Kyley Coleman

When Kyley Coleman started an Instagram page at the end of May to promote Pittsburgh’s Black-owned businesses, she thought she might collect a few thousand followers. But a little more than a month later, her curated posts on @BlackOwned.PGH reach 14,000 Instagram users.

Keith Srakocic / AP

The Treasury Department on Monday released the names of more than 26,000 businesses or organizations based in Pennsylvania that received funds from a federal program intended to support the economy as states shut down to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania state government finished its fiscal year about 9% short of its initial revenue estimate, a result of the state’s coronavirus-related shutdowns and delayed tax-filing deadlines, the Department of Revenue said Wednesday.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA


On today's program: A look at what economic recovery from the shutdown might look like in southwestern Pennsylvania; YWCA Greater Pittsburgh returns to its core mission; and as businesses across the country reopen, music venues continue to struggle. 

Jakob Lazzaro / 90.5 WESA


On today's program: The Allegheny Conference on Community Development evaluates Pittsburgh’s next steps towards economic recovery; a new textile could help healthcare workers working with COVID-19 patients; and pediatricians weigh in on the safety of in-person playdates. 

Wolf Asks Pennsylvania Supreme Court To Uphold Shutdown

Jun 12, 2020
Gene J. Puskar / AP

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf asked the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Friday to intervene in his dispute with legislative Republicans who are trying to end pandemic restrictions he imposed in March to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

Gloria Lumbrano-Torres’ bedroom walls are lined with vinyl records.

She favors soul and gospel classics: The Every Brothers, James Cleveland, Lou Rawls.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania will offer $225 million to small businesses struggling with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. At a press conference on Monday, Gov. Tom Wolf said residents must remain vigilant in the fight against COVID-19, but that the state can begin to focus on economic recovery.

Rebecca Frederick / Heart of Glass

Salons, gyms and spas can reopen Friday after months of restrictions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Some businesses are taking the weekend to ready their locations for appointments and social distancing beginning next week.