Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Stark Job Loss Data Warn Pennsylvania Economic Policies Are Failing

The state jobs data are remarkable and stark. Pennsylvania has gone from leading the nation in job creation to being a job destroying machine.  Pennsylvania  ranks among the 10 worst states for job creation for the last 6 months.

Pennsylvania's recent terrible economic performance is a dramatic reversal, because Pennsylvania ranked among the top 10 states for job creation prior to April 2011. Here are the dramatic facts for the last 12 months when the Commonwealth went from good to ugly from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry..

Pennsylvania's economy was humming until April, 2011, creating 72,000 jobs from September 2010 to March 2011 or about 12,000 per month. But in April and May the state's economy hit a brick wall and has been shedding thousands of jobs ever since.

Pennsylvania lost 24,000 jobs from April to September 2011 or about 4,000 per month in the last 6 months. 

All the job losses mean that Pennsylvania's unemployment rate has now jumped from 7.4% in April to 8.3% in September.  Our unemployment rate had been steadily decreasing until April.

Pennsylvania's economic performance over the last 6 months is remarkably bad, especially given two other factors. The nation's economy grew 2.5% in the third quarter and had positive job growth for the period, and the gas boom in Pennsylvania is creating thousands of jobs. 

National economic growth and the Marcellus job boom was not enough to overcome the profound economic and budget mistakes made in Harrisburg.


  1. I think also that everyone believed that Marcellus would bring in a lot of jobs for locals. Instead, it brought in a lot of jobs for traveling oil and gas workers from other states. Although our hotels are full of workers, the minimum wage jobs that this creates for Pennsylvanians doesn't really help, and certainly doesn't in any way fulfill the glowing promises of massive high-wage job creation for Pennsylvanians that we were led to believe we would see with Marcellus drilling.

  2. The state policy blunders are big enough that they have swamped the positive job creation from the Marcellus as well as the growing national economy. When Pa was a leader in job creation (2010 to April 2011), one reason but not the only reason was the real Marcellus job creation.

    I agree that some jobs went to folks from out-of-state. That was very clear early on and continues but to a lesser extent now. I would like those people who come from out of state to work here to settle in PA and become parts of our communities. I also agree that as many jobs as possible should go to Pennsylvanians. But it is also the case that Pennsylvanians are getting all kinds of jobs from the Marcellus--from low-wage to high salary positions. Training programs that have started within the last 2 years at colleges are quickly placing students in good jobs. The problem is not the Marcellus jobs but state policy blunders in education, transportation, water and sewer, and clean energy that are really big and have destroyed already lots of jobs.

  3. The job numbers have nothing to do with the current policies of the Corbett administration - unless not having billions of dollars in stimulus funding is considered a Corbett policy.

    It's just that PA is finally catching up to the recession-related economic instability that the rest of the nation has been enduring.

    PA used one-time stimulus funding to artificially prop up its economy for a few years, but when that money ended - about the same time Corbett took office - the state had no ability to continue that funding with state dollars.

    That means public works construction-related jobs took a nosedive once the transportation stimulus dried up. The education stimulus was used to do things that couldn't be maintained after the stimulus ended, so public school-related jobs had to be cut. And other government-related jobs have taken it on the chin because the funding ended.

    Look at the industry sectors that have had it the hardest lately and they were all areas either directly or indirectly propped up by temporary stimulus funding.

    You can say what you will about the value of keeping those jobs propped up while the stimulus was available.

    However you can't blame the next governor for no longer having the money to continue to prop up those industries, especially when the money used came from taxpayers, most of which got very little direct help from the stimulus.

    If anything, it's yet more proof that government-directed spending - taking money out of the hands of the private sector - can't create lasting jobs.

  4. Your post means that the stimulus must have been effective in PA. Was it effective only in PA? Did it work in any other state? Did it stop in just PA in April?

    Why is PA now among the 10 worst states in creating jobs? Why was it among the 10 best states in creating jobs? Did PA get more stimulus than other states? No it did not.