Morning Must reads: As The Jobs Crisis Rolls On, Elected Officials Look To Hate To Win Votes

At 8:30 Friday morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release data on September payrolls. Bill McBride provides a rundown of expectations that place the payroll count at 65,000 jobs, which would be an improvement from the total of ZERO jobs created in August. Talk about lowered expectations.

Also note that government payrolls have been shrinking by about 35,000 on average per month this year.

Pennsylvania Records First Quarter Revenue Growth

The September revenue collections are in, and as I told the Harrisburg Patriot-News this week, Pennsylvania is on track to meet revenue projections for the year, despite missing official estimates for the first quarter of 2011-12.

How's that? Well, first of all, revenue collections so far this fiscal year are running ahead of the same three-month time period last year, reflecting a stubbornly slow but continued economic recovery. Tax revenue grew by 3.7% during the quarter, which is slightly ahead of estimated growth of 3.3% for the fiscal year.

While actual tax collections are below official estimates, some of that underperformance may be attributed to a change in the way those revenue estimates were made. The 2011-12 estimates predict a larger share of annual revenue coming in during the first half of the fiscal year than revenue estimates of the past several years. If 2011-12 collection patterns follow a similar course as most recent years, this change may make budget “shortfalls” more common in the first half of the fiscal year, followed by surpluses in the second half.

I first wrote about this last week after looking at July and August revenues. Looking at the full first quarter revenue figures, the analysis holds up.

Morning Must Reads: Occupy Wall Street and the Banks in Pennsylvania

In just over a week, the Occupy Wall Street movement has gone from being lectured by writers at Mother Jones for not understanding messaging to comparisons to George Washington in a Central Pennsylvania newspaper!

George WashingtonThe protesters didn’t take their beef to the dysfunction that is Washington. Instead, they planted their flag of dissatisfaction in the heart of America’s financial district. It has spread to Philadelphia, San Francisco, Boston and Los Angeles, and is coming to Harrisburg on Wednesday ... The upstarts who got Occupy Wall Street off the ground might not become storied legends, but their idea looks like it has legs, and with any luck, there’s a next generation George Washington poised to step in, articulate a moderated message, and put American economic equality squarely in the political middle.

Morning Must Reads: Regulations and Jobs

Bruce Bartlett, former advisor to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, has a column in the Economix blog at The New York Times this morning with compelling fresh evidence (from the Bureau of Labor Statistics) that job creation is not hampered by regulation but, you guessed it, a lack of demand.

Also this morning, as if on cue, news stories appeared about the movement Monday of bills to weaken Pennsylvania's prevailing wage statute. The Pennsylvania House majority leader called the current prevailing wage statute a "job-crushing" law — without actually providing any evidence, naturally.

This week is off to a great start! Monday we demonize the unemployed and Tuesday it is all about regulation. I can't wait for Wednesday.

Governor's Drilling Fee Plan Sells Pennsylvanians Short

I put out the following media statement today on Governor Corbett's proposed impact fee on drilling in the Marcellus Shale:

"Governor Corbett has proposed a small, limited fee that fails to capture for Pennsylvanians the true worth of this vast natural resource, and fails to fully offset the short and long-term damage that will be done by the industry. The proposal sells Pennsylvanians short.

Morning Must Reads: Skill Mismatch Is Back And It Is Still Wrong

The view that people who lost a job due to the economy are lazy and shiftless dilettantes has spread from the editorial page of The Patriot-News to the newsroom with a particularly misleading story today.

The jobs are out there. Companies just can’t find the workers to fill them....Economists and business leaders point to a factor contributing to the pervasive disparity between available jobs and workers: attitude. Prospective work candidates simply want their cake — and on a silver platter. Some don’t want to commute, others want to work only the day shift, and others don’t want to take a job they feel is beneath them.

Third and State This Week: Strong Revenue Growth in PA, Rising Student Loan Defaults, and Morning Must Reads

This week, we blogged about rising rates of student loan defaults, Pennsylvania's strong revenue growth early in the fiscal year, and rising poverty in the wake of recessions. We also started each day with the "Morning Must Reads," highlighting the must-read economic news and opinion of the day. 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On higher education and unemployment, Sean Brandon blogged about the rising number of student loan defaults as young college grads find jobs harder to come by in this economy. 
  • On poverty and recessions, Chris Lilienthal shared a chart showing how the recessions of the last 30 years have driven up poverty rates in their aftermath.
  • On state budget and taxes, Michael Wood wrote about a new Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center analysis showing that state revenue collections in the first two months of 2011-12 are running well ahead of the same two-month period last year. Mike also shared a chart showing that July-August tax collections have outperformed the same two-month period in the last five fiscal years. September revenue collections will provide a much better idea of what to expect in future months.
  • Lastly, Mark Price greeted you each daybreak with the "Morning Must Reads," highlighting current economic news and opinion. This week, Mark highlighted articles on paid sick leave, public sector employment losses, the challenges of local economic development, local area unemployment rates and the bupkis Congress is doing to spur economic recovery
More blog posts next week. Keep us bookmarked and join the conversation!

Morning Must Reads: The Tall Tales Policymakers Tell to Justify Keeping Unemployment and Profits High

The economy is sick. Unemployment has been rising and private-sector job growth has been very weak in the past few months. WE ARE NOT HEADED FOR A DOUBLE-DIP RECESSION! But with unemployment back over 8% here in Pennsylvania, the risks of financial disaster for people who lose their jobs for reasons beyond their control remain higher than they have been at any point since the early 1980s.

The costs of job loss for individuals and society are well documented (PDF). What we need is aggressive action by Congress and the Federal Reserve to spur job growth. But what we are getting is bupkis from Congress. Meanwhile, a broad range of fiscal and monetary policymakers are making stuff up about what is wrong with the economy.

The answer, repeated again and again, is that businesses are afraid to expand and create jobs because they fear costly regulations and higher taxes...The first thing you need to know, then, is that there’s no evidence supporting this claim and a lot of evidence showing that it’s false. The starting point for many claims that antibusiness policies are hurting the economy is the assertion that the sluggishness of the economy’s recovery from recession is unprecedented. But, as a new paper by Lawrence Mishel of the Economic Policy Institute documents at length, this is just not true. Extended periods of 'jobless recovery' after recessions have been the rule for the past two decades. Indeed, private-sector job growth since the 2007-2009 recession has been better than it was after the 2001 recession.

PA Tax Collections Strong So Far, September Will Tell Us More

Here is another look at General Fund tax collections in the first two months of Pennsylvania's 2011-12 Fiscal Year. As you can see, collections so far this year have exceeded pre-recessionary levels — a positive sign.

General Fund Tax Collections July and August

Revenue collections for September will be released as early as late Friday. September collections are important to monitor because they include quarterly corporate and personal income tax payments. They should give us a much better idea of what to expect in future months.

So far, so good.

High Unemployment Leads to More Student Loan Defaults

Sean Brandon, InternBy Sean Brandon, Intern

The U.S. Department of Education recently released 2009 fiscal year data on the number of students defaulting on college loans. In a press release, the Department noted that the national default rate rose from 7% in 2008 to 8.8% in 2009, affecting loans for all types of colleges and universities. The default rate rose from 6% to 7.2% on loans for students at public institutions, 4% to 4.6% at private institutions, and 11.6% to 15% at for-profit institutions.

Among the states, Pennsylvania has the third highest number of higher learning institutions (behind California and New York) and a student default rate of only 6.6%, which is considerably better than the national rate. However, Pennsylvania is no exception when you compare the relationship between the unemployment rate and the borrower default rate. 

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