Monday, September 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Another PA jobs update

Now for another look at PA jobs numbers, an issue certain to be a driving force in this year's race for governor.

Another PA jobs update

Okay, look, I was off for a long time and full details on jobs numbers trickle in but want to keep you as up to date as possible on where exactly we are these days.

Why?

Job creation and unemployment are always key in big campaigns and certain to play a role in PA's race for governor.

And, yes, such data can be argued many ways, including the argument that they're products of the national economy and governors have little control over economies, especially in larger states.

Still, Gov. Corbett's re-election campaign is largely based on "creating jobs, growing the economy" and not raising taxes.

So after the latest U.S. Labor Department numbers came out late last month (for November), the Corbett campaign issued a press release saying "more than 149,000 private sector jobs have been created" since Corbett took office in January 2011.

And, in an effort to have it both ways, the campaign claimed this is "despite Washington DC's failures that are holding us back."

Well, as I've noted in past, Corbett counts only private-sector jobs whereas economic experts say all jobs should be counted for a truer picture of a state's job growth.

And in counting all jobs, PA's number since January 2011 is 106,200, according to latest Labor Department data.

And when compared to the 15 most populous states (we're sixth, so five are larger and nine are smaller) every state except Virginia created more net jobs than PA.

And states closest to us in population and total jobs? (PA has 5.7 million jobs)

llinois is the 5th largest state and has 5.8 million jobs. It created 188,400 new jobs since January 2011.

Ohio is 7th largest and has 4.2 million jobs. It created 128,700 jobs since January 2011.

And smaller states created more jobs: New Jersey (11th largest with 3.9 million jobs) created 127,200; Michigan (9th largest with 4 million jobs) created 183,800; Georgia (8th largest, also with 4 million jobs) created 217,000; and even Arizona (15th largest with 2.5 million jobs) created 133,500 during the same time period.

Point being job creation, when based on net jobs, is a lot less impressive in PA than some would have you believe.

The good news? PA's unemployment rate, currently 7.3 percent, is lower than 9 of the 15 states in question.

(The current national unemployment rate is 7 percent.)

Facts in politics often become malleable things. But the facts are that PA, when compared with other states, might not be losing tons of jobs but it isn't gaining tons either.

 

 

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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