Jobs and Unemployment

Third and State This Week: A Missed Opportunity, Unpaid Internships, Expanding Medicaid and Mother's Day

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a missed opportunity in the House to close corporate tax loopholes, the troubling trend of employers taking on unpaid interns to do work once performed by paid staff, the public health benefits of expanding Medicaid coverage, more on Pennsylvania's job growth ranking, and a Mother's Day look at the number of Pennsylvania moms who benefit from key federal tax credits that may be at risk.


  • On state budget and taxes, Sharon Ward shared her statement on the passage of a House bill enacting hundreds of millions in new corporate tax cuts. The bill represented a missed opportunity to close tax loopholes, Sharon wrote. We also posted our live Twitter coverage of the House floor debate on that bill.
  • On higher education and the economy, Jamar Thrasher blogged about the troubling trend of employers recruiting unpaid interns to perform duties that were once performed by paid staff.
  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal wrote that expanding Medicaid in Pennsylvania will make Pennsylvanians healthier and more financially stable — and even save lives.
  • On jobs and the economy, Stephen Herzenberg delved a little deeper into Pennsylvania's job growth performance in light of recent remarks by the Governor.
  • And with Mother's Day this weekend, Sharon Ward blogged about the hundreds of thousands of working moms in Pennsylvania who rely on the Earned Income and Child Tax Credits to make ends meet. 



  • Join the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center on Tuesday, May 14 from 4 to 5 p.m. for a webinar on making the Medicaid expansion a reality in Pennsylvania. Learn more and register to participate.
  • Join the Keystone Research Center and Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center on June 13 for our Annual Awards Dinner at the Hilton Harrisburg. Learn more and purchase tickets.

Unpaid Interns Doing Full-time Work

As American colleges and universities wind down another school year, many students will be seeking out summer internships. Interning at the right place can help new grads gain valuable experience and build a professional network, both of which are as key to future success as earning good grades in the classroom. But more and more, interns are doing work that was once performed by full-time paid staff — without the compensation.

Don't Like to Look at Percents? Then PA's Job Rank Is Even Worse

When it comes to evaluating Pennsylvania's job growth performance, Governor Tom Corbett said last week, "I don't like to look at percents." (Watch this clip about 1 minute 15 seconds in for that quote.)

OK, let's compare what Governor Corbett does like to look at — "how many people got on payroll" (actual job growth) before he came into office and since then.

Third and State This Week: Revenue Update, Assessing PA Job Growth, Expanding Health Care, Pensions Webinar & More

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a new Independent Fiscal Office report showing state revenues lagging earlier estimates, a study on salaries at nonprofit and for-profit human service providers, the budget and economic benefits of expanding Medicaid health coverage, a webinar on the public pensions debate, and job growth in Pennsylvania.


  • On state budget and tax policy, Michael Wood blogged about a new report from the Independent Fiscal Office forecasting over $500 million less available for the next budget than revenue estimates in the Governor’s February budget proposal. Sharon Ward wrote about a new Legislative Budget and Finance Committee study of the salaries of nonprofit and for-profit human service providers.
  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price wrote that policy decisions made by governors impact whether a state’s economy takes on more water, or bails successfully, as it rides the wave of the national economy.
  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal blogged about two studies demonstrating that Pennsylvania’s economy and state budget will get a big boost if the commonwealth accepts federal funding allocated to expand Medicaid health coverage.
  • Finally, we shared a webinar hosted this week by the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center titled "Untangling Pennsylvania's Pension Reform Debate."



Pennsylvania Job Growth Continues to Slide

Acknowledging complexity in economic and jobs data always runs a certain risk. I was reminded of that this week when I spoke with a reporter at PoliticsPA about Pennsylvania’s job growth during Governor Corbett’s administration. After spending an hour on the phone with the reporter laying out the data, the resulting story largely missed the forest for the trees.

Third and State This Week: A Call to Close Loopholes on Tax Day, Pensions and Latest PA Job Numbers

This week at Third and State, we marked Tax Day by blogging about where our tax dollars go and why Pennsylvania should close corporate tax loopholes. We also wrote about our analysis of the Governor's corporate tax cut plan, our latest Pension Primer, and the Pennsylvania job numbers for March. Plus, a radio podcast on the state of the American economy that featured Mark Price.


  • On Tax Day, Chris Lilienthal highlighted infographics and other resources showing you where your state and federal tax dollars go. Sharon Ward shared her Harrisburg Patriot-News op-ed calling on state lawmakers to close loopholes and get Pennsylvania's fiscal house in order before considering new tax cuts. Finally, Kate Atkins shared photos from a Tax Day event in Harrisburg where volunteers made a call to close loopholes.
  • On state budget and taxes, Michael Wood wrote about Governor Corbett's plan to cut corporate tax rates by 30% over a decade. Noticeably absent from the plan is any effort to close corporate tax loopholes that have drained resources from schools, universities, and county human services.
  • On pensions, Stephen Herzenberg blogged that Governor Corbett's pension plan has a serious case of pension deficit disorder — if enacted, it will increase the state's pension debt by $5 billion between now and 2019..
  • On jobs and unemployment, Chris Lilienthal passed on a news report on the March job numbers for Pennsylvania. Mark Price shared a podcast of a Minnesota Public Radio show where he and journalist Heidi Moore discussed jobs and the state of the American economy.


  • The Keystone Research Center released the fourth installment in its Pension Primer series this week. You can read all the Pension Primers and Stephen Herzenberg's testimony before the Pennsylvania State House Government Committee at KRC's Pensions Issue Page.
  • Read the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's full analysis of the Governor's proposal to enact costly new business tax cuts in the years ahead.
  • Read PBPC's statement opposing House legislation that creates tax breaks to subsidize new markets for natural gas producers at the expense of schools and other priorities.


  • Join Steve Herzenberg of the Keystone Research Center on April 30 for a "Pensions 101" webinar. If you have wondered what is fact and what is fiction in the pension debate, and how to respond to it, this webinar is for you.


  • Learn more about the federal opportunity to expand health coverage in Pennsylvania at PBPC's Medicaid Expansion Resource Page.
  • Learn more about education in Pennsylvania at PBPC's Education Facts Page with data on student enrollment, education funding, and school poverty.

PA Unemployment Rate Drops as Thousands Drop Out of Labor Force

Pennsylvania's unemployment fell by two-tenths of a percentage point from 8.1% in February to 7.9% in March, according to new data out this afternoon. As Ann Belser at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports, much of the decline was due to workers dropping out of the labor force:

The declining unemployment rate was more from people dropping out of the labor force than from unemployed residents finding jobs.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics report showed that while the number of unemployed people fell in the state by 45,600 people, the number of people working only rose by 14,600, which means that 31,000 people dropped out of the state's labor force.

Pennsylvania's unemployment rate, at 7.9%, remained above the national jobless rate of 7.6% in March.

Radio Podcast: Workers Drop Out of the Labor Market

I was on Minnesota Public Radio this week with journalist Heidi Moore to provide some context on jobs and the state of the American economy. Listen to the full show at the player below.

Third and State Recap: Disappointing Job Growth, Ryan Budget's Impact on PA, Revenue Update, Frack Attack & More

After taking a break last week, Third and State is back with a blog recap for the past two weeks. We blogged about the latest U.S. jobs report and Pennsylvania revenue update, the billions Pennsylvania could lose under Congressman Paul Ryan's budget, Ed Rendell making the case for gas drilling in New York, how "Tax Freedom Day" overstates the taxes most Americans pay, and much more.


  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price wrote that U.S. job growth continued to disappoint in March.
  • On federal tax and budget issues, Sharon Ward blogged about how Paul Ryan's budget cuts critical federal funding for Pennsylvania's schools, health care, clean water, law enforcement, and other key services, while providing big new tax cuts to corporations and the wealthiest individuals. We also wrote about tax credits for working families that are in jeopardy in federal deficit reduction talks. Finally, Chris Lilienthal blogged that the Tax Foundation's "Tax Freedom Day" presents a misleading picture of the taxes that most Americans pay.
  • On the Marcellus Shale, Sharon Ward blogged about how former Governor Ed Rendell got into some hot water last week with an op-ed in the New York Daily News touting the economic benefits of hydrofracking. Mark Price shared new data on natural gas-related employment in Pennsylvania.
  • On state budget and taxes, Michael Wood wrote that state revenue collections fell short of projections in four of the last five months, which could put 2013-14 spending in jeopardy.
  • On health care, Sharon Ward shared a recent op-ed she wrote explaining why Pennsylvania should take a federal opportunity to expand health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Chris Lilienthal explained how you can let your lawmakers know that expanding health coverage is the right choice for Pennsylvania.
  • On education, Jamar Thrasher blogged about a recent report finding that the nation's poor students are not attending the nation's top colleges and universities.


  • The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) is launching a new policy webinar series next week, starting with one Tuesday that will debunk the tax and budget myths promoted by the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC.
  • Read PBPC's full analysis of Pennsylvania's March revenue report.
  • Learn more about the threat facing federal tax credits for working families — including the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.
  • Learn more about public pension reform in Pennsylvania at the Keystone Research Center's Pensions Issue Page.
  • Learn more about the federal opportunity to expand health coverage in Pennsylvania at PBPC's Medicaid Expansion Resource Page.
  • Learn more about education in Pennsylvania at PBPC's Education Facts Page with data on student enrollment, education funding, and school poverty.

U.S. Job Growth Continues to Disappoint in March

Nonfarm payrolls grew by 88,000 in March while the unemployment rate stood at 7.6%, little changed from the month before, according to a report this morning from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Bill McBride at Calculated Risk wrote Thursday that the consensus forecast was for an increase in nonfarm payrolls of 193,000 and for the unemployment rate to hold steady at 7.7%.

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