Still no job creation plan in sight from Corbett Administration

HARRISBURG, August 17, 2012 – – Senate Democratic Leaders today said the latest state employment figures are the predictable result of the Corbett administration’s failure to support a job growth plan.

According to the state Department of Labor and Industry, Pennsylvania lost 3,100 jobs in July. Combined with 2,800 lost jobs in June, it puts Pennsylvania below its December 2011 employment level.

This net loss of 3,600 jobs stands in sharp contrast to the national employment outlook, which has been increasingly positive with more than 1 million new jobs created since the beginning of the year. Senate Democrats say this contrast illustrates the complete lack of leadership by Gov. Tom Corbett and his administration on job creation, the most important issue facing Pennsylvania.

“The new job numbers are not surprising considering that the Corbett administration has no plan for job creation outside gas drilling counties,” said Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione, Democratic Chair of the Labor and Industry Committee and Caucus Secretary. “There are still nearly a half million Pennsylvanians out of work and if you don’t have a gas well in your back yard, you’re on your own. Job creation across the entire state should be a priority.”

Tartaglione said recent cuts to job training programs and layoffs of state unemployment office workers indicate that the administration is more concerned with cutting jobs than creating them.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Pennsylvania ranks 42nd among all states in net new job creation, below a majority of our neighboring states. Pennsylvania ranked 36th just a month ago.

“Today’s jobs report continues to underscore the total stagnation of economic growth in Pennsylvania,” said state Sen. Vincent Hughes, Democratic chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “It also illustrates Gov. Corbett’s failure to push a job creation plan and invest in Pennsylvania’s workforce and infrastructure. We are losing our footing nationally and our unemployed workers are bearing the brunt of this lack of leadership on job creation.”

Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) said that Since Governor Corbett gave his first budget address in March of 2011, our state’s economic performance has been in a steady decline.

“We are still on the wrong track when it comes to job creation. These latest job numbers are clear evidence of that,” Costa said. “While national job growth continues its steady ascent, Pennsylvania employment is in decline and unemployment has reached a nine month high. We must focus on jobs and growth and put a stop to this downward slide.”

Senate Democratic leaders say that without serious attention to job creation, we are risking real damage to our economy in Pennsylvania and allowing the state’s working families to fall behind the national recovery.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, national employment has increased by more than 1.8 million jobs since last July. This growth rate is roughly equal to the pace of growth between 2003 and 2007 as the state emerged from a previous recession. In fact, the past year’s increase of 1.838 million jobs is the third highest annual increase in the past decade, helping to add 4 million new jobs since employment increases began in 2010.

Unfortunately, Pennsylvania’s jobs report tells a very different story. Growth of only 20,000 jobs over the past year is far below our economic performance during that same 2003 to 2007 time period. This poor performance is even more startling when compared to robust job growth in more recent times. Pennsylvania initially emerged from the recent deep recession among the strongest positions of all 50 states. Net job growth between February 2010 and February 2011, topped 107,000 new jobs and ranked us 7th among all 50 states.

“It is both shocking and disappointing to see the sharp contrast between Pennsylvania and the rest of the nation,” Hughes said. “It is imperative that we refocus our priorities and boost our job-creation efforts with real, proven solutions. We are at a critical moment, it is my hope that the Governor sees these numbers for what they are – a very loud cry for help from Pennsylvania’s unemployed.”

The Democratic Caucus has continuously made job creation and economic development a top budget priority.

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