By Mark Price, Ph.D.
Economist and Interim Research Director, Keystone Research Center and the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Thursday that Pennsylvania created 66,500 jobs in the last 12 months. At 1.1 percent, that’s the fastest year-over-year job growth reported in any July since 2005. Relative to the 50 states, that’s the 34th fastest pace in the country and the best Pennsylvania has ranked since July 2011 when it was in 26th place.
July 2011 is of note because former Gov. Tom Corbett’s first budget was signed shortly before the stroke of midnight on June 30, 2011. While on time, the budget was even more remarkable because it cut $1 billion from education funding and set off a wave of school district layoffs that, as of the end of the last school year, tallied to 33,000 jobs.
Not surprisingly, layoffs on that scale delivered a body blow to a state economy still recovering from the worst recession since the Great Depression. The body blow dropped Pennsylvania’s job growth ranking within a year to 44th and by July 2013 to 48th.
So what we learned this Aug. 20 is that job growth in the commonwealth is finally back to normal — Pennsylvania has ranked, on average, 35th for job growth since 1990. The future of the Pennsylvania labor market, however, is cloudier than it should be thanks to deadlock over this year’s state budget.
Full Story: OP-ED: Pa. needs sensible budget compromises, by Mark Price, Ph.D. of the Keystone Research Center and the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center for York Dispatch, 08/26/15