Posts by mark price

President’s Actions on Immigration Will Benefit the Pennsylvania Economy

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Last week President Obama announced that he will use the power of the executive office to shield millions of people from deportation and give them authorization to work.

The President's action is a positive step forward.

Bringing undocumented workers out of the shadows and into the above-ground labor market is good for them, good for the economy and good for us all. Specifically, the president’s actions will bring the following important benefits to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:

September job losses mark three consecutive months of job loss in Pennsylvania

On Friday the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry reported that the unemployment rate fell from 5.6% to 5.7% while nonfarm payrolls fell by 9,600 jobs in September.  

Another victory in the fight to keep predatory payday lending out of Pennsylvania!

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As many of you are aware Pennsylvania law prohibits lenders from charging exorbitantly high interest and fees on small loans in Pennsylvania.  In the last several years the Payday lending industry which in other states regularly charges fees and interest of 300% or more has been lobbying the state legislature to offer similarly destructive financial products to Pennsylvania consumers.  In our briefing paper Bankrupt by Design: Payday Lenders Target PA Working Families we found that expanding this form of lending in Pennsylvania would cost consumers hundreds of millions of dollars and result in the loss of good jobs from the state’s economy.

Earlier this week Pennsylvania State Senator Jake Corman from Centre County attempted to get the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee to adopt a resolution that would authorize a study of payday lending in Pennsylvania.

A funny thing happened to our data on the way to Philadelphia

If you have been following this gubernatorial election, or just watching television, you might have noticed that the Wolf campaign has been arguing that 27,000 jobs were lost in education in Pennsylvania.  That’s a figure my colleagues and I released in late August in our annual State of Working Pennsylvania.  To generate that number we used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to calculate education employment in local governments in the 2010-11 school year, which ran from July 2010 to June 2011.

August job growth disappoints in Pennsylvania

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning that nonfarm payrolls in Pennsylvania grew by 100 jobs in August and the unemployment rate edged up slightly to 5.8%.

To be clear that 100 is not missing a zero.

The jobs picture with respect to resident employment was actually substantially worse as 35,000 fewer residents reported having a job in August. 

The Not Sharing Economy: Lyft and Uber take aim at Pennsylvania

The companies Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. offer smart phone apps that allow you to find drivers available for hire. The companies have expanded rapidly in the last year and are just now hitting the City of Pittsburgh. 

Investigators from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission responsible for regulating taxi cabs caught the companies operating in Pittsburgh and two judges have issued orders for the companies to stop offering their services in the city.

As Josh Eidelson in Business Week notes, the conflict in Pittsburgh is not a new experience for the companies. They have also met with resistance in some other states and localities in which the firms began offering services without first obtaining regulatory approval.

This is what the business lobby looks like on drugs

I just read this Mother Jones story on a letter from the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) that focuses on whether or not auto insurance is affordable for low income consumers.  In making the case for the affordability of the auto insurance products of its members, NAMIC quoted statistics from the Consumer Expenditures Survey:

Exploiting People Down on Their Luck To Make A Buck

The House Commerce Committee is set to vote on June 17th on SB 622 the Debt Settlement Services Act.  This legislation covers the licensing and regulation of debt settlement companies in Pennsylvania. 

Debt settlement services run television commercials in which companies with comforting names that include words like free, freedom, and relief offer consumers a chance to cut their debt by up to 50%!

Seattle has adopted a city minimum wage of $15 an hour.

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As you may have heard by now, Seattle has adopted a city minimum wage of $15 an hour. As with all minimum wage increases, this one will be phased in over three to seven years depending on the size of the business

Arindrajit Dube, a rising star in labor economics has an excellent editorial on the proposal that I would encourage you all to read.