Jobs and Unemployment

In Case You Missed It: Third and State Blog for Week of March 7

This week on Third and State, we blogged about Governor Corbett's state budget proposal, ways to grow the economy and promote broadly shared prosperity, "Mad Men" who like fast trains, and much more!

In case you missed it:

  • On the state budget, Sharon Ward explained why Governor Corbett's proposed 2011-12 budget should worry parents and property taxpayers, and Chris Lilienthal shared some budget resources and information from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center.
  • On wages and the economy, Mark Price challenged the notion that education alone is the cure-all for the economy's woes and instead invokes the employee-focused business model used by The Container Store as an example of how to boost economic growth and broadly shared prosperity. Mark also delved deeper into the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's business climate rankings in a post titled "You Will Never Be Poor Enough."
  • On other economic issues, Mark shared a 60 Minutes segment on homeless children, while Steve Herzenberg passed on a powerful story that conveys one of the most critical roles that unions play.
  • Finally, we continue a new weekly series we're calling "The Friday Funny." This week, "Mad Men" who like fast trains (with a hat tip to PennPIRG's Megan DeSmedt for passing along).

More blog posts next week. Keep us bookmarked and join the conversation!

In Case You Missed It: Third and State Blog This Week

This week on Third and State, we blogged about the upcoming state budget, the end of adultBasic, a questionable business climate ranking, and much more!

In case you missed it:

  • On the state budget and the economy, Sharon Ward shared a podcast featuring her and Jan Jarrett of PennFuture discussing the state budget principles that will create jobs and ensure the long-term economic success of the Commonwealth. Mike Wood, meanwhile, challenged comments made this week by Budget Secretary Charles Zogby that Pennsylvania's budget woes are due to overspending. Mike points out that nearly every state in the nation — low-spending and high-spending alike — is facing a budget shortfall this year thanks to a recession-driven decline in revenue collections.
  • On the economy, Mark Price blogged about the problems with a new business climate ranking from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that seems to favor states with lower wages and less human development. Mark also shared a funny but informative video of the Daily Show’s Jon Stewart discussing pay on Wall Street and for teachers. 
  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal highlighted a New York Times story on the end of Pennsylvania's adultBasic health insurance program this week and what that means for the more than 41,000 Pennsylvanians who lost their coverage.
  • Finally, on jobs and wages, Stephen Herzenberg noted that The Economist agrees with the Keystone Research Center on one thing: people don’t take government jobs to get rich.

More blog posts next week. Keep us bookmarked and join the conversation!

Friday Podcast: Principles for a Better State Budget

Next week, Governor Corbett will unveil his first state budget. It will outline a spending plan for the next fiscal year, but really it sets a course for the Commonwealth's economy and priorities for years to come.

So it is critical that the Governor and Legislature take a forward-looking approach to this budget with a focus on job creation and long-term economic success.

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center and PennFuture teamed up to produce a new report setting forth key budget principles to promote a more prosperous Pennsylvania.

Like We Said, Policymakers Are Focusing on the Wrong Deficit

New York Times economist David Leonhardt makes two simple points in today’s paper that we made in our release last week underscoring the need for more action to create jobs.

First, output in the United States has rebounded thanks to the Recovery Act, surpassing its level before the recession. The Act, according to our estimates, saved 400,000 jobs in Pennsylvania alone.

In Case You Missed It: Third and State Blog This Week

This week, we blogged about job growth in Pennsylvania, what message President Obama should send to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, lessons to learn from other state's fiscal woes and a whole lot more.

In case you missed it:

  • On the economy, Steve Herzenberg explained how Pennsylvania was a big winner in job performance for 2010, while New Jersey was the "biggest loser." Steve also blogged on what message President Obama should be sending to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and weighed in on the nation's "Swiss Cheese" tax system.
  • On the state budget, Chris Lilienthal highlighted another edition of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's Fiscal Facts, and talked about lessons to learn from other states' budget challenges.
  • On jobs and unemployment, Mark Price wrote that for the long-term unemployed, the jobs just aren't there. Mark also blogged this week on strengthening the middle class and debunking bogus research on upward mobility and income 

More blog posts next week. Keep us bookmarked and join the conversation!

For the Long-term Unemployed, the Jobs Just Aren't There

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released new data on the duration of unemployment by state.  In 2010, 26% of the people in Pennsylvania who lost a job, through no fault of their own, had been unemployed for a year or more.

The following figure plots the data by state against the average unemployment rate by state in 2010.  As I argued last week using older data, these new data clearly demonstrate that the most important factor shaping the length of time that people in Pennsylvania remain unemployed is the number of unemployed people competing for job openings.

Pennsylvania Big Winner in 2010 Job Growth, New Jersey “The Biggest Loser”

There is some good news to be found for Pennsylvania in new data sizing up job performance in 2010.

While far too many Pennsylvania families are struggling in the aftermath of the worst recession in decades, the state’s economy is rebounding better – and faster – than most states.

In 2010, the Commonwealth added more than 65,000 jobs, ranking third among the 50 states in the number of jobs created. On a percentage basis (adjusting for the size of each state’s economy), Pennsylvania’s job growth was 1.2% — exceeding three-fourths of all states.

Teachable moments

Brad Bumsted of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review leads the latest news on Pennsylvania tax collections with the following:

Kenneth Gailey of Midland doesn't like the idea of raising state taxes or cutting benefits.

The 50-year-old contractor, who spent 16 years as a carpenter for
PennDOT, said he believes state government can make a huge dent in an
estimated $4 billion deficit by eliminating or cutting high-end salaries
for management and making government more efficient.

'Do we need more taxes? Do we need cuts in the few benefits we have?
What we need is fewer people on the high end of that pay scale.'

Is this true? 

Can we stop attacking people who lost their job because of the recession?

Capitolwire reports (paywall):

House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, said there are ways to reform unemployment compensation... Turzai said: “Without a doubt, we have to look at enrollment…We have to look at what the array of benefits are and how they compare to competing jurisdictions.” He also said he favored a “strong work-search requirement” for unemployment, echoing one of the major points made by [Governor Tom] Corbett and business organizations.

Hundreds of thousands of working- and middle-class Pennsylvanian’s lost a job in the last three years for reasons beyond their control. The more people who are out of work, the longer it takes to find a job and thus the longer the period that people remain unemployed. This is why I stress time and time again that the chief challenge in the economy right now is the scarcity of job openings relative to job seekers. Concerns over whether unemployment insurance is a disincentive to find work are just not relevant when we have four unemployed people competing for each job opening.

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