Monday, May 6, 2013

Key Facts & Analysis About PA's Jobs Ranking, Gas Drilling Jobs, & Drug Usage Among Jobs Seekers Right Here

With its Friday, April 19th posting noting that Pennsylvania's economy ranked 50th in jobs creation for the period March 2012 to March 2013, this blog triggered a cascade of stories that went viral when Governor Corbett tried to excuse Pennsylvania's jobs performance by discussing drug usage among job applicants.

As John Baer wrote in an excellent column, Pennsylvania actually ranks 50th in job creation if seasonally adjusted data is used, but 49th if non-seasonally adjusted data are the numbers crunched to rank states.

Baer also correctly stated that Pennsylvania lost 6,000 jobs from March 2012 to March 2013, if the seasonally adjusted data are used. 

And so stories criticizing Corbett for ranking 49th in job creation (they and others used the Arizona State University Index that employs non-seasonally adjusted data) did not exaggerate Governor Corbett's poor performance.  Indeed, it would be more accurate to say that Pennsylvania ranked 50th or dead last and lost 6,000 jobs from March 2012 to March 2013.

My only quibble with the Baer piece is its omission that most of the jobs created during the 28 months of Corbett's term came in his first 12 months.  Many of the jobs created on Corbett's watch are the fruit of Governor Rendell's last year in office, when Pennsylvania ranked 7th in jobs' creation during 2010.  At this point, the failed policies of Governor Corbett are strangling job creation in the Commonwealth. 

Mark Price of the Keystone Research Center also has an excellent piece on Pennsylvania's jobs performance that broadens analysis.  Price finds, if you don't just rank the states by comparing March 2012 to March 2013, but rank them on the basis of jobs created in all 12 months from March 2012 to March 2013, Pennsylvania ranks 45th. All facts and data slices are ugly now.

Given Pennsylvania's lousy jobs growth, Andrew Maykuth of the Philadelphia Inquirer suggests accurately that gas drilling will never create enough jobs for broad prosperity in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, the gas industry feeds misunderstanding of its important economic role, when it states that gas drilling is responsible for 240,000 jobs.  It has not. In the Maykuth piece, the industry again equates "hires" with "jobs."  One job generates many hires, as the job turns over, and another is hired to fill it. 

Gas drilling in Pennsylvania generates about 100,000 direct and indirect jobs. If you have one of those jobs, it is the only one that counts.  And those jobs are concentrated in rural counties, where the unemployment rate has fallen as a result of gas drilling.  But 100,000 jobs are less than 2% of  the  6.5 million jobs Pennsylvania needs.  Gas drilling alone cannot bring broad prosperity to Pennsylvania.  No one industry can do that.

Corbett got into his drugs remark pickle, when discussing the Pennsylvania economy and gas drilling. This is a normal pattern for the Governor, who constantly and wrongly suggests that gas drilling alone can bring Pennsylvania prosperity. 

Now we can add to the Governor's misunderstanding of the Pennsylvania economy the rate and trend of drug usage among Pennsylvanians seeking jobs.  Robert Vickers of the Harrisburg Patriot News first wrote that only 3.5% of those applying for a job who take a drug test fail it.  Sean Kitchen then pointed out that the rate of failed tests has been falling slightly since 2007.

The facts show that Pennsylvania is at the bottom of job creation over the last 12 months, that gas drilling alone will never create enough jobs to meet Pennsylvania's need for 6.5 million, and that 96.5% of job applicants pass drug tests.  Governor Corbett is uniquely ill-informed and should stop scapegoating and slandering those seeking jobs in an economy that he has made tougher not better.

No comments:

Post a Comment