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Economy & Business

Local Economy Could Fall behind in 2015

Owners of small- and medium-sized businesses gathered Wednesday to talk about how the Pittsburgh area economy could change in 2015 and not everyone is optimistic.

The University of Pittsburgh’s Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence hosted the event that included: Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher, PNC Chairman Bill Demchack, and PNC Vice President Augustine Faucher. Overall they predicted that the local economy will fall behind the national economy in 2015.

“We had such a boom from the Marcellus over the past couple of years, and because of the natural gas prices and everything on the decline, I think that’s one of the reasons that we’re going to be lagging behind,” said Bob Stein, interim director of Pitt's Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence, who attended the event.

Because of this Stein believes energy related jobs in the region will suffer, but the overall drop in gas prices should help to stabilize the economy for entrepreneurs.  

The event also explored the possible impacts of issues such as the Russian-Ukraine conflict, Greece’s troubled economy, immigration and healthcare. Demchack predicted that in late 2015/early 2016 the US dollar will reach equilibrium with the Euro.

“It’s going to cost more to export things from the United States, so on the plus side the dollar is strong, but on bad side importing is going to be more cost effective,” said Stein.