Putting the April Jobs Report in Context

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that nonfarm payrolls grew by 10,000 jobs and the unemployment rate fell to 5.7% in April.

Resident Unemployment

Over the month, the labor force was essentially unchanged as the number of residents reporting employment rose by 0.4% and the number reporting they were unemployed fell by 5.6%.

$1.3 billion less for 2014-15 budget according to IFO

On May 1, the Pennsylvania Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) released updated revenue estimates for the remainder of 2013-14 and its initial estimate for 2014-15. With General Fund revenues already a half a billion dollars short through April, it was expected by many budget watchers that revenue projections would be scaled back. The IFO forecasts a decrease of revenue of $568 million from official estimate for 2013-14 and for 2014-15, predicts a further decline of $768 million from the Governor’s Office estimates from February. This jeopardizes the increases proposed by the Governor for 2014-15, and could lead to budget cuts from 2013-14.

Senate Bill 76: a School Defunding Formula Bill?

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The Senate Finance Committee did not take up Senate Bill 76 this week, a positive sign. The committee held a hearing on April 30 to consider an amendment that was supposed to fix the problems with the legislation, but the amendment had the opposite effect, raising even more questions about the impact of the bill on schools, communities, and businesses.

Pocket money for a business lobbyist is real money for working families

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On Wednesday ABC27 did a story on proposals to raise the minimum wage in Pennsylvania which attributed the following to an anonymous Pennsylvania business lobbyist:

Pennsylvania business leaders and lobbyists argue the minimum wage increase would benefit only workers in entry-level positions or those earning pocket money.

On Thursday join an event near you to advocate for a higher minimum wage in Pennsylvania.

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Today we released a new report "Living on the Edge: Where Very Low Wage Workers Live in Pennsylvania". This comes in advance of Thursday's statewide day of action organized by a diverse coalition of faith, labor and community groups urging lawmakers to take action to raise the minimum wage in Pennsylvania (see http://raisethewagepa.org/ for more information on local events).

TAX THE FRACKERS BEHIND ME

 

In the largest display of Astroturf organizing in recent memory, the Marcellus Shale industry today brought busloads of its employees and some lease-holding landowners to Harrisburg for a parade and a rally.

The industry’s “message” was drilling means jobs. But then an activist jumped to the head of the parade and moved a better idea to the front of the parade - TAX THE FRACKERS BEHIND ME.

Pennsylvania Families Come First in Alternative Budget

This week Rep. DiGirolamo (R-Bucks) unveiled the Roadmap for a Stronger Pennsylvania, a sound alternative to the budget that was proposed by the governor. The Roadmap gets us on the way toward a responsible, sustainable state spending plan that makes critical investments in education, health care and communities and delays unaffordable tax cuts.

Breaking news: Seattle will establish $15 per hour minimum wage, highest in the nation

Seattle will raise its minimum wage to $15 per hour, the highest in the nation, under a deal just announced by labor and business groups and reported on by Think Progress.

All employers will have to meet the $15 minimum wage by the end of the decade, while businesses with more than 500 employees will have a three-year phase-in period.

Pittsburgh: One of America's New Laboratories of Democracy

My colleague Diana Polson brought my attention to Harold Meyerson's new story in The American Prospect highlighting Pittsburgh as a city with exciting young progressive political leadership and labor-community alliances (e.g., Pittsburgh United). Pittsburgh deserves the credit as do councilwoman Natalia Rudiak, Mayor Peduto, and SEIU 32BJ, which received shout outs in the story.

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