MIKE ARMSTRONG:  Coming up:  Planning to stay close to home for Memorial Day weekend?  Guess who says you’re not alone?  Has it really been 30 years since Atlantic City bet on casinos?  We’ll tell you about a big celebration.  Are you feeling house rich or poor?  We have new regional data that shows how prices are faring in our area.  Philadelphia Business Today starts now.

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MIKE ARMSTRONG:  Gas prices are up, and people are staying home.  That’s what it’s looking like for this Memorial Day Weekend.  Triple-A Mid-Atlantic says that about 460,000 people who live in Philadelphia and its suburbs will travel 50 miles or more this weekend.  That’s down 2 ½ percent from last year, and the first time in Triple-A’s history they’ve projected the decline from one year to the next.  Triple A says the average price for a gallon is $3.91 in the Philadelphia area, compared with $3.11 last year.  The good news for the Jersey Shore and the Poconos is that with fewer people going long distance, those nearby resort areas could benefit. 

Fireworks, a giant block party, and a concert with Natalie Cole.  It’s all coming to Atlantic City this weekend.  The reason?  Resorts Atlantic City is celebrating 30 years of being in business.  Resorts was the first casino to open on the boardwalk on May 26, 1978.  Resorts is still there, but with only 942 rooms, it’s one of the smallest casinos in Atlantic City.  The Borgata has nearly 2000 rooms.   Over the last 30 years, casinos have become a $5 billion industry in Atlantic.

Nationwide, there’s bad news for the housing market.  But locally, things aren’t so bad.  Today, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia issued a new report.  It looks at national housing price index data for the first quarter.  Nationally, the index was down 0.2 percent in the quarter, compared with the fourth quarter.  But in Pennsylvania, it was up 0.7 percent.  New Jersey saw a decline of 0.5 percent, while Delaware dropped 0.7 percent. Still, the news isn’t all good, regionally.  When you look at the year-over-year trends for the states, you see a steady decline in home prices over the last four quarters.

That’s it for this week.  At The Inquirer, I’m Mike Armstrong for Philadelphia Business Today.

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