A Veritable Tsunami of Jobs In September

Pennsylvania added an average of 1,300 jobs a month between September 2011 and August 2012. In light of that, September was a veritable tsunami of jobs, as the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry explains:

Seasonally adjusted total nonfarm jobs in Pennsylvania were up 17,800 in September to 5,733,900, the largest monthly gain since February 2012. Following an upward revision to the August jobs count, Pennsylvania has shown a two-month gain of 23,800 jobs.

Holy Jack Welch! Did you just say tsunami of jobs? Didn't Pennsylvania's unemployment rate rise a bit in September? What's going on? I explain here.

So what drove this month's very large increase in employment in Pennsylvania?

Gone Baby Gone: Pennsylvania's September Jobs Picture

For the first time since the start of the Great Recession, unemployment in Pennsylvania moved above the U.S. jobless rate in September, reported the state Department of Labor and Industry on Friday.

Over most of the Great Recession and economic recovery, the state's unemployment rate remained about a percentage point below the U.S. rate. As of September, that advantage is gone, with Pennsylvania's rate of 8.2% exceeding the national rate of 7.8%. 

Third and State This Week: The Manufacturing Jobs Score, Charter School Bill Dies & a Win Against Corporate Welfare

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a new report on manufacturing job growth by presidential administration, the stalling of a charter school bill in the House, a rare victory in the endless fight against corporate welfare, the latest Pennsylvania jobs report, and much more!


  • On manufacturing jobs, Stephen Herzenberg highlighted a report he co-authored with Colin Gordon of the Iowa Policy Project on state-level manufacturing job growth and loss across 16 post-World War II presidential administrations.
  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price offered his quick take on Friday's report showing the commonwealth's jobs picture in September remains headed in the wrong direction. Mark Price also blogged about a new report finding that skills shortages in manufacturing are a local, not a national, problem.
  • On economic development, Mark Price wrote about a food corporation's withdrawal of a request for a property tax abatement a day after Michael Wood of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center raised questions about it in an op-ed in the Harrisburg Patriot-News.
  • On education, Jamar Thrasher wrote about a charter school reform bill that stalled this week in the state House.
  • On income inequality, Mark Price blogged about a piece in The New York Times that drew parallels between income inequality practices in old Venice and present day America. Mark also wrote that the biggest challenge facing the next President of the United States will be runaway inequality.

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

Pa. Jobs Picture Headed in Wrong Direction

I will be back with a more complete breakdown of today's Pennsylvania job numbers, but here is my quick take.

For several months now, Pennsylvania's jobs picture has been headed in the wrong direction. The state's jobless rate is now essentially unchanged from a year ago, and for the first time since the start of the Great Recession, it exceeded the national rate in September.

Charter Bill Stalls in House as Lawmakers from Both Parties Raise Questions

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After passing out of the state Senate Tuesday, a much debated charter school bill stalled in the House of Representatives this week due to an apparent lack of support from House Republicans, as the Harrisburg Patriot-News reports. With the Legislature now recessed for the upcoming elections and leaders of both chambers vowing not to schedule any legislative votes in the lame duck session, the bill is not likely to come before lawmakers again until the new legislative session next year.

Morning Must Reads: A Rare Victory In The Endless Fight Against Corporate Welfare

In a rare victory against corporate welfare, Ahold USA has withdrawn its request for property tax breaks for a meat-packaging facility it is building in Lower Allen Township, Cumberland County.

Morning Must Reads: Inequality Bad

The biggest challenge facing the next President of the United States is runaway inequality.

The State of Working America lays out the trends:

Between 1983 and 2010, nearly three-fourths (74.2 percent) of the total growth in household wealth accrued to the top 5 percent of households in the wealth distribution. For the bottom 60 percent of households, wealth declined from 1983 to 2010.

Corporate Tax Break for Food Company Unnecessary

The effort by Netherlands-based food company Ahold to secure a multi-year property tax break on a plant being built in Cumberland County presents a troubling picture of an economic development system that is costly, lacks real accountability and leaves the taxpayers paying more. Check out my op-ed on the subject in today's Harrisburg Patriot-News.

The State-Level Manufacturing Jobs Score Since 1948

Last month, Colin Gordon of the Iowa Policy Project and I published a national analysis of job growth and loss in U.S. manufacturing by presidential term since 1948. Shortly thereafter, we came across state-level data that allowed us to replicate our "manufacturing jobs score" analysis in each of the 50 states.

We summarized our findings in a new policy brief this week, with a focus on regions and some individual states, including Pennsylvania.

Each of four multi-state regions and 43 of the 50 states experienced more job loss (or smaller job gains) in the nine Republican administrations combined than across the seven Democratic administrations combined.

Morning Must Reads: Got Manufacturing Skill Shortage?

The for-profit economic consultants Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has released a new study that combines analysis of wage trends by metropolitan area with surveys of the CEOs of manufacturing companies on the topic of manufacturing skill shortages.

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