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Governor Corbett's Budget Worsens the Job Outlook
REVERSING THE TREND
When Governor Corbett signed the budget on June 30, 2011, he effectively signed away both current and future jobs of so many Pennsylvania citizens. As we have made previous mention, slashing the education budget alone laid off thousands of teachers and administrative staff throughout the state. Furthermore, slashing $114.6 million from the budget of the Department of Community and Economic Development, the state agency that oversees a tremendous amount of job training and job creation, makes our state’s ability to be a successful employer significantly harder. Local, Philadelphia business leaders called this reduction “devastating.”
Last week, the Associated Press reported that Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate for June rose from 7.4 percent to 7.6 percent. When looking at the most current unemployment statistics (May 2011) from the United States Department of Labor, Pennsylvania does fare better than our neighboring states (including New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Washington D.C., Connecticut, West Virginia and Delaware) in terms of unemployment.
In fact, over the past year, 15 states experienced “statistically significant changes in employment, all of which were increases.” Pennsylvania had the fifth largest increase in the country with 44,300 people additionally employed (May 2010: 5,634,400 Pennsylvanians employed – May 2011: 5,678,500 Pennsylvanians employed). This translates into lowering our unemployment rate from last year by 1.3 percent from 8.7 percent in May 2010 to 7.4 percent in May 2011.
We know very well, these numbers are not where we want or need them to be, and with the most recent report showing unemployment increasing for Pennsylvania, the concern continues to grow. Our numbers were moving in the right direction and showed Pennsylvania faring better than our neighboring states during what has been incredibly challenging economic times. It is a testament to what happens when you invest rather than cut, when you create rather than eliminate and when you put the hardworking people of Pennsylvania first. Unfortunately, Governor Corbett’s budget threatens to undo any of the good progress we made.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING
The topics of unemployment and jobs continue to dominate the news. It is on the minds of most every American daily. Unemployment continues to be an enormous stressor for so many of you and your friends, family members and neighbors, as the struggle to find jobs is a constant. To make matters worse, the average length a person has been without a job is at an all time high. Recently, the New York Times reported on this: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/03/average-length-of-unemployment-at-all-time-high/
I also want to direct your attention to WHYY’s Radio Times report, “The Jobs Crisis – Policies, Fixes and the Unemployed.” It is a very interesting piece with Princeton economist Alan Blinder and New York Times economic reporter Catherine Rampell giving their perspective on the job crisis. Click here to Listen.
MOVING FORWARD: JOBS MUST REMAIN TOP PRIORITY
As many of you know in February of this year, the Senate Democrats unveiled the PA Works plan with the potential to spur the creation of tens of thousands of jobs in Pennsylvania. While creating these jobs, PA
Works looked to reduce state spending, put a focus on helping small businesses, rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and foster innovation, and not increase taxes to do so. At the heart of this plan remains where our focus needs to be to ensure our state continues to move in the right direction. This focus includes the areas of small business, workforce training, critical state investments, clean and green energy, infrastructure investment and tax fairness.
I will be honest – it is an uphill battle. It won’t be easy, but I refuse to give up. I know the hard working people of Pennsylvania are the very same people who make this state a success. Without putting our citizens back to work, our state cannot succeed. Additionally, we need to create good, sustaining jobs by making smart investments. You have my ongoing commitment to always push policies that make jobs a priority. It not only makes sense, it is the right thing to do.
Be sure to find Senator Hughes on Facebook and Twitter (SenatorHughes).
Offices of State
Senator Vincent Hughes