Economy & Business

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

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.

Gene J. Puskar / AP


On today's program: Allegheny County prepares to enter the green phase of reopening; and a former Stanford University freshman dean discusses harms of overparenting and how to fix it.

Larkin Page-Jacobs / 90.5 WESA

With Allegheny County entering the green phase of reopening from the coronavirus pandemic Friday, bars and restaurants will be free to serve dine-in guests for the first time since March. But not all establishments will reopen right away, and for those that do, the rules will be much different.

PA Businesses Push For Protection From Consumer Lawsuits During COVID-19

Jun 1, 2020
Master Sgt. George Roach / Pa. National Guard

Leaders from Pennsylvania’s business, manufacturing, and health care industries are calling on the state to broaden liability protections to companies during the pandemic, saying without them economic growth will be hampered by an onslaught of lawsuits. 

Pennsylvania Unemployment Claims Backlog Persists

May 29, 2020
Tony Dejak / AP

State officials said Thursday they’re making progress, but acknowledge more needs to be done to whittle down an unemployment compensation claims backlog that has persisted for more than two months.

Images provided by applicants

At first the videos seem like they could be auditions for a reality television show.

A shaky camera comes to rest on a business owner sitting in their bar, or salon, or living room. They take a deep breath, and then begin to make their case.

Allyson Ruggieri / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate skyrocketed in April at the height of the state's pandemic-driven shutdown to its highest rate in over four decades of record-keeping, the state Department of Labor and Industry said Friday.



On today's program: The fate of the former Civic Arena site is again in limbo; for many, decision-making has changed due to coronavirus; and lots of conservation efforts have been put on hold during the pandemic.

Jeffrey Stockbridge / Keystone Crossroads

Ever since several Pennsylvania counties announced they planned to begin allowing businesses to reopen in violation of Gov. Tom Wolf’s COVID-19 mitigation order, Gene Barr, who heads the state’s Chamber of Business and Industry, has seen a distinct uptick in confused calls.

Kate Landis / PA Post

Elected leaders in several Pennsylvania counties say some businesses are free to reopen on Friday, May 15 — with or without the governor’s support.

Businesses across Pennsylvania submitted more than 42,000 requests to stay open amid Gov. Tom Wolf’s March 19 shutdown order. At least 6,000 were approved, according to a list released late Friday by the Pa. Department of Community and Economic Development.

Carlisle's Bridal of Pittsburgh


On today's program: How one business owner plans to adapt as she reopens this weekend; some rural hospitals are struggling to imagine a financial future; and performance arts students and teachers adapt to virtual learning.

Nisha Blackwell / Knotzland Bowtie

After nearly two months of lockdown, some area businesses can resume operations on Friday. Dozens of new state rules are meant to guide the reopening across much of southwestern Pennsylvania, but there’s still a lot of uncertainty, said Audrey Russo, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Technology Council.

Courtesy of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

Much of southwestern Pennsylvania is moving into the “yellow” phase of reopening this week. Library staff in those counties can begin to plan to resume in-person operations, as well as order supplies such as gloves and masks to protect employees and patrons. However, it will be a while until they can open their doors, said Suzanne Thinnes, communications manager for Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, or CLP.

Tim Lambert / WITF

Gas prices tumbled over the past two months as the economy shut down during the coronavirus pandemic.

Wolf Administration Warns Businesses Defying Shutdown Order

May 11, 2020
Matt Rourke / AP

Gov. Tom Wolf attacked local elected officials making plans to reopen in defiance of his shutdown orders as cowards deserting the pandemic battlefield, threatening Monday to block aid to rebellious Pennsylvania counties in an escalating political fight over his administration's handling of the coronavirus.

90.5 WESA / Datawrapper

Twenty-four northwestern and north-central Pennsylvania counties moved into the “yellow” phase of Governor Tom Wolf’s reopening plan Friday. That means daycares are allowed to open, as are churches and most retail businesses. 

PA Gig Workers Can Finish Applying For Federal Assistance

May 7, 2020
Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania gig workers can finally finish applying for a new federally-mandated assistance program, announced the Department of Labor and Industry Monday.

Businesses Open In Defiance Of Pennsylvania Shutdown

May 7, 2020
Mark Scolforo / AP

As swaths of Pennsylvania prepare for a limited reopening Friday, some fed-up business owners are jumping the gun and have resumed serving customers in defiance of Gov. Tom Wolf’s shutdown order.

Courtesy of Onex, Inc.

Considered essential businesses, many manufacturers have been exempted from Gov. Tom Wolf’s shutdown order. Some now find themselves with almost too many orders, while others don't have nearly enough. But almost all are facing unexpected challenges from the coronavirus.

Shari Koscinski / 90.5 WESA

While much of Pennsylvania remains in coronavirus lockdown, restrictions on businesses in the northwest and north-central parts of the state will begin to loosen on Friday. Lawrence County, closest to Pittsburgh, is one of 24 counties where retail businesses will be allowed to welcome in-person customers.

Kate Landis / PA Post

Donna Partin is itching to give you a hand with the housekeeping.

Coronavirus Restrictions To Be Eased In Rural Northern PA Counties

May 1, 2020
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Gov. Tom Wolf announced Friday that 24 counties in rural northern Pennsylvania will see some relief from his strictest orders for residents to stay at home and businesses to close as part of a strategy to contain the spread of the coronavirus.