Recession and Recovery

Third and State This Week: The Governor's Budget, Marcellus Shale and Unemployment

This week, we blogged about the Governor's new budget proposal, the passage of a Marcellus Shale package, private-sector job growth, and more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • Governor Corbett released his 2012-13 state budget this week. Sharon Ward shared her op-ed on the Governor's budget proposal, and Chris Lilienthal highlighted key points from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's analysis of the budget.
  • On the Marcellus Shale, Michael Wood blogged about the Legislature's passage of a shale package, including a drilling fee that has one of the lowest rates in the nation.
  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price compared claims linking private-sector job growth to 2011 state tax and spending policy with a rooster taking credit for the sunrise.
  • And in the Morning Must Reads this week, Mark Price shared news reports on how charter schools are putting a drain on school district budgets, what to expect on Budget Day, movement on state legislation that would enable 17,000 Pennsylvania workers to qualify for federally-funded unemployment insurance, and efforts in Washington to weaken extended unemployment benefits.

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

Morning Must Reads: Hard Times, Unemployment Insurance and Marcellus Arm Twisting

Although the economy is recovering, it is important to remember that unemployment remains high and that means many households are struggling to make ends meet. WITF this morning reports on non-food aid from a Central Pennsylvania charity.

NPR's Morning Edition had a very good story on the national controversy surrounding food assistance. 

Meanwhile, the Allentown Morning Call reports that a bill required to enable 17,000 Pennsylvania workers to qualify for federally-funded unemployment insurance has cleared an important hurdle.

Morning Must Reads: Budget Day

The Philadelphia Inquirer this morning previews big cuts to state support for higher education in today's budget proposal from Governor Corbett. Last year's budget hit poor k-12 school districts hard. This year's cuts to higher education, as the Inquirer story illustrates, are likely to result in rising tuition, which will only make it harder for low-income students to gain access to one of the most important institutions we have for reducing inequality. 

Morning Must Reads: Charters A Drag On School District Budgets, One Good Jobs Report Does Not Equal Full Employment

Stories this morning out of York and Delaware County suggest charter schools in urban areas are making it harder for public school districts to balance their budgets.

Paul Krugman explains why one relatively good jobs report does not mean we are getting any nearer to full employment anytime soon.

A Harrisburg Rooster Takes Credit For The Sunrise

A recent tweet (see above) from our good friends over at the Commonwealth Foundation highlights that private-sector job growth in 2011 was the strongest in Pennsylvania since 1999 and links that outcome to state tax and spending policy.

The figure below plots the 12-month moving average of private-sector payrolls in Pennsylvania since 1990. What you will notice about the figure is that in the period following a recession (the areas shaded gray*) private-sector payrolls expand. That's what is known in macroeconomics as an expansion; it's been a characteristic of every business cycle on record since 1854. Given where we are in the business cycle, to link private-sector job growth to 2011 state tax and spending policy is like the rooster taking credit for the sunrise.

Third and State This Week: State of the Union, Loopholes and Price of Service Cuts

This week, we blogged about the President's State of the Union address, new legislation to address corporate tax loopholes and a new series examining the price of cuts to state services in Pennsylvania.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On the State of the Union, Mark Price offered a preview before the President's speech and a recap of his favorite parts the next day.
  • On state budget and tax policy, Chris Lilienthal wrote that legislation proposed by Representatives Dave Reed and Eugene DePasquale would take a first step towards closing corporate tax loopholes in Pennsylvania, but more needed to be done. Chris also highlighted the first and second installments of a new series from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center featuring stories of Pennsylvanians impacted by five years of state service cuts.
  • And in other Morning Must Reads this week, Mark Price compared and contrasted executives and teachers, and highlighted a proposal to strengthen both the minimum wage and the earned income tax credit.

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

Morning Must Reads: State of The Union, Stimulus and Austerity Economics PA Style

Tonight President Obama will deliver his State of the Union Address to Congress. We are expecting the President to recommend an extension through the end of 2012 of extended unemployment insurance benefits and the payroll tax credit. It looks as though a major theme in the address — besides the catch phrase “built to last” — will be conventional policies aimed at reducing inequality, such as increased spending/tax credits for education and training.

Education and training are important and fruitful means of reducing inequality, but they fall well short of what's needed to reduce the degree of inequality we now face.  A more forceful step in the direction of reducing inequality would include raising the minimum wage and making it easier for workers to form and join unions. We don't expect to hear the President call for either of those changes.

The President will propose paying for his new initiatives with higher taxes on wealthy households. As with education and training, restoring some sense of fairness to the tax code is a laudable goal but longer-lasting reductions in inequality will only come from policies that allow the pre-tax wages of more Americans to rise as the size and wealth of our economy grows.

Morning Must Reads: Perfectly Legal Forms of Wage Theft and Build Baby Build!

When you tip your server at a restaurant, you probably assume that all of that money goes to the server. If you use a credit card to pay, you would be wrong. 

It is very common for restaurant owners to use a portion of those tips to pay credit card processing fees.

The Philadelphia Daily News reports this morning that Philadelphia City Council has passed a law that stops restaurant owners from stealing from servers in this way. 

Third and State This Week: No Marcellus Shale Fee in 2011, Extended Unemployment at Risk and PA gets a D

This week, we blogged about a new report on economic development subsidies in Pennsylvania, the economic harm that ending extended unemployment insurance for 281,000 jobless Pennsylvanians will have, and the latest on the debate over enacting a Marcellus Shale drilling fee.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On economic development, Chris Lilienthal shared the results of a national study by Good Jobs First that ranked the 50 states' economic development subsidy programs based on job creation requirements and wage standards for workers at subsidized companies. Pennsylvania came in 40th.  
  • On the Marcellus Shale, Michael Wood blogged about 2011 ending as the last two years have — without a Marcellus Shale drilling tax or fee for Pennsylvania.
  • On unemployment, Sean Brandon laid out the facts supporting the extension of emergency federal unemployment insurance. With the average duration of joblessness among Americans at an all-time high, now is not the time for Congress to turn its backs on the unemployed. 
  • In the Morning Must Reads, Mark Price highlighted news stories discussing the safety issues of Marcellus drilling and the foreclosure crisis in the midstate

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

Length of Unemployment at All Time High

Sean Brandon, InternBy Sean Brandon, Intern

While the U.S. unemployment rate fell to a 32-month low of 8.6% in November, the average duration of joblessness hit an all-time high — 40.9 weeks. This number has more than doubled since the start of the Great Recession in December 2007. Nevertheless, it should come as no surprise amid lingering unemployment. There are four job seekers for every job opening these days.

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