Low-wage Workers Take Post-Recession Hit to Paycheck

By Ellis Wazeter, Intern

Since the end of the recession, Americans working in low- and mid-wage occupations have taken a bigger hit to their paychecks than their counterparts in higher-paid jobs, according to a study by the National Employment Law Project (NELP).

Pennsylvania, Land of Opportunity

We're not always the "good news bears," but today we're thrilled to give greater visibility to a landmark new study that shows the American Dream of upward mobility is more alive in Pennsylvania than in most parts of the country.

Third and State This Week: Fewer College Grads Starting Businesses and State Revenue Collections in 2012-13

This week at Third and State, we blogged about student loan debt deterring college grads from starting their own businesses, income inequality and efforts to turn back prevailing wage laws for construction workers, and revenue collections during the now-completed 2012-13 Fiscal Year.


  • On higher education, Jamar Thrasher blogged that more and more American college graduates are declining to start their own businesses partly because of the rising costs of tuition and crushing student loan debt.
  • On income inequality and the prevailing wage, Stephen Herzenberg wrote that too many people in the "1%" (and the smaller groups at the very, very top) seem to have convinced themselves that they are not only more deserving but also somehow different than — better than — other people.
  • And on state budget and taxes, Michael Wood shared the following chart tracking monthly revenue collection trends in the now-completed 2012-13 Fiscal Year.
    2012-13 General Fund Revenue Surplus/(Deficit) by Month


Toshi Seeger and Respect for the Working Man and Woman

Toshi Seeger's obituary last week in The New York Times brought a smile to my face.

Toshi provided her husband, the folk singer Pete Seeger, with the organizational skills without which he would have not been so influential or commercially successful.

Toshi also kept him grounded. “I hate it when people romanticize him,” she said. “He’s like anybody good at his craft, like a good bulldozer operator.”

That simple sentiment works in both directions. It helped make sure Pete Seeger would not become too big for his britches. It also communicates deep respect for the bulldozer operator — and for hardworking people more generally.

Third and State This Week: The PA Budget and Connecting the Dots Between Wage Growth and Unemployment

The week at Third and State, we blogged about the state budget, school funding, transportation funding, and the Medicaid expansion. Plus we shared a graphic connecting the dots between wage growth and unemployment.


  • On state budget and taxes, Chris Lilienthal blogged about passage of the $28.375 billion spending plan for 2013-14, and Sharon Ward shared her recent PennLive.com op-ed on the opportunity — and obligation — the Pennsylvania Senate had to really close corporate tax loopholes with this budget.
  • On school funding, Sharon Ward wrote that the Philadelphia School District will receive new state funding, but with strings attached that leave some key decisions in the hands of the state Secretary of Education.
  • On transportation, Michael Wood wrote about dueling House and Senate bills to provide between $2 billion and $2.5 billion for transportation projects. Neither plan was passed before the Legislature left for its summer recess.
  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal wrote about the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee's approval of legislation to expand Medicaid in Pennsylvania, the full Senate vote on the bill, and how the House derailed the effort before adjourning for the summer.
  • And on wages, Mark Price shared a graphic from Colin Gordon of the Iowa Policy Project illustrating the connection between unemployment and wage growth.


Connecting the Dots Between Unemployment and Wage Growth

Colin Gordon of the Iowa Policy Project (and the Tell Tale Chart) has a new graphic illustrating the connection between unemployment and wage growth across the states (see Colin's summary of the data here).

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.

670,000 Working Moms in PA Rely on Key Federal Tax Credits

With Mother's Day approaching this weekend, we are highlighting new research showing that 670,000 working moms in Pennsylvania rely on the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC). Both tax credits also lifted nearly 118,000 Pennsylvania children out of poverty annually between 2009 and 2011.

Third and State This Week: Talking State Budget, February Jobs, Pension Primers, and Income Inequality

This week at Third and State, we shared a podcast on the Governor's state budget proposal and the latest "pension primer" from the Keystone Research Center. We also blogged about the February jobs report, income inequality, a court ruling with implications for state health care funding, and more.


  • On state budget and taxes, Michael Wood wrote about General Fund revenue collections missing estimate in February. Sharon Ward shared a podcast from her sit down with Triad Strategies where she discussed the governor's state budget proposal and the opportunity to expand Medicaid in Pennsylvania.
  • On jobs and the economy, Chris Lilienthal rounded up the insights of leading national economists on the U.S. jobs report for February. Nonfarm payrolls in February increased by 236,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate fell to 7.7%.
  • On pensions, Stephen Herzenberg shared the Keystone Research Center's latest "pension primer," which focused on how a 2010 law significantly reduced state pension costs going forward.
  • Mark Price shared his op-ed on how we can break the back of rising income inequality in the U.S., published this week in The Guardian.
  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal blogged about a court ruling finding that the diversion of tobacco settlement funds away from health care violated the state constitution.


  • Check out the first three installments in the Keystone Research Center's new series of state pension primers intended to help demystify the often complex details at the heart of the pension debate.
  • Read the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's latest State Revenue Tracker.
  • Check out PBPC's Medicaid Expansion Resource Page, with more information on the federal opportunity to expand state coverage and how you can take action.
  • And view PBPC's Education Facts Page with data on student enrollment, education funding, and school poverty.

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

Wealth Inequality Will Keep Growing Unless Workers Demand Better

I have an op-ed on The Guardian's web site today examining the problem that we all face in today's economy: income inequality. Give it a read.

Syndicate content