Morning Economic News

Morning Must Reads: Policy Matters in Payday lending and Fracking

Unless you have been away for two weeks, you will note I have been posting a lot about House Bill 2191, which if enacted would legalize predatory payday lending in Pennsylvania.

If you listen to only the policymakers pushing this legislation, you would conclude this bill is a common-sense reform aimed at boosting consumer protection. The reality is quite different since the bill opens the door to a kind of predatory lending that exploits working families and destroys jobs

Morning Must Reads: Training and Education? Let Them Go To The Pittsburgh Opera

When workers lose their jobs in a recession, they have time that could be spent in training programs targeted to the needs of employers. Of course, there is a hitch: during a recession, employers are not hiring, so at the very time there are lots of people available to train, employers don't need new workers. As the economy improves (like it is now), it opens the door to training tied to the needs of businesses that are hiring. 

Morning Must Reads: Budget Outlook Improves, Governor's Understanding of Economics Not So Much

The headline on an editorial by The Daily Review of Towanda says all you need to know about payday lending.

Morning Must Reads: The Impact of Economic Austerity, Student Loans and the Geography of Manufacturing

The U.S. economy is growing, albeit too slowly to make a substantial and badly needed dent in the unemployment rate. Growth in the U.S. economy will almost certainly mean continued growth in the Pennsylvania economy.

The most important risk to Pennsylvania's job growth in 2012 remains job losses among teachers, nurses and other public servants caused by federal and state budget cuts. 

Morning Must Reads: US Job Growth In April and No Easy Pension Fixes

In case you missed it, job numbers for the U.S. economy came out Friday. The numbers were somewhat disappointing as nonfarm payroll growth came in barely above the level necessary to keep the unemployment rate steady at 8.1%. On the other hand, one month of data does not a trend make, and looking at nonfarm payroll growth over the last three months, growth has been somewhat stronger.

Morning Must Reads: Tax Collection Forecast Improves, Philadelphia Got Schools? & Voter ID

In the fall, Pennsylvania's economy looked a bit shaky. Unemployment was rising and leading indexes which predict future growth were signaling weak growth.

Today, the outlook is stronger: unemployment is falling, albeit slowly, and leading indexes (PDF) point to stronger growth over the next six months. Thus, it is no surprise that the Independent Fiscal Office has boosted its forecast for state tax revenue collections.

Morning Must Reads: Happy May Day, SNAP Asset Test to Cost PA $45 Million & Deaths from Falls

Happy International Workers Day! What's that, you ask? Historian Jacob Remes breaks it down for you.

Morning Must Reads: $250 Payday Loans With $2000 in Fees/Interest & Food Stamp Asset Test

The state legislature is back today, and this Thursday at 9 a.m. the House Consumer Affairs Committee will hold a hearing to discuss state Representative Chris Ross's bill to legalize payday loans charging upwards of 300% in annual percentage rates (APR).

Morning Must Reads: Foreclosures Continue To Rise and Better Disclosure of Fees For 401K Plans Is Coming

With more data is in on home foreclosures, we continue to see big increases in foreclosure activity in Pennsylvania, even in places like Pittsburgh, which avoided the worst excesses of the housing bubble.

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