Job Growth Returns to PA but Challenges Still Loom

A shortened version of a blog post by Mark Price, originally published at Third and State.

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry reported Thursday that the number of jobs in the commonwealth grew by 13,800 in October, as the unemployment rate fell slightly to 8.1%. A key factor in October's relatively good performance was a pause in public-sector job losses.

So the good news is we had one positive month; the bad news is unless we have more months like October, the labor market is more or less stuck in neutral. Back in January, we estimated that the jobs deficit in Pennsylvania was 257,000 jobs (this is the number of jobs Pennsylvania needs to get back to full employment). The October jobs deficit is just over 237,000 jobs. In other words, the pace of job growth is such that we are back to full employment in more than eight and half years.

Read more in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and check out my statement on the latest jobs report.

It Is an Undeniable Fact that I Am an Uber Responsible Private-Sector Labor Market Analysis Machine

A blog post by Mark Price, originally published at Third and State.

A while back the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry released a new version of its Marcellus Shale Fast Facts, which prompted a statement from Kathryn Klaber of the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC):

This new data further reinforces the undeniable fact that responsible American natural gas production is an unmatched private sector job creation machine.

So let's take a look at what the numbers say. Figure 1 presents on the left axis total employment in the Marcellus core industries by quarter from the fourth quarter of 2007 to first quarter of 2011 (the most recent data available).

On the right axis, the percent change from the previous quarter in total employment in that sector (the red line).

On a quarterly basis, employment growth in this sector is volatile, ranging from negative 5% in the first quarter of 2009 to an increase of more than 20% in the second quarter of 2010.

Between the first quarter of 2010 and the first quarter of 2011, the Marcellus core created 7,328 jobs. Total nonfarm employment over the same period increased by just over 87,000 jobs.

News Flash: PA Public-Sector Jobs Not Path to Riches

A blog post from Stephen Herzenberg, originally published on Third and State.

The Economic Policy Institute has a new report out documenting — surprise, surprise — that jobs in Pennsylvania state and local government aren’t the way to get rich.

The report, authored by Rutgers University labor and employment relations Professor Jeffrey Keefe, shows that Pennsylvania public-sector workers make the same or slightly less in wages plus benefits than comparable Pennsylvania private-sector workers. The more-generous benefits of public-sector workers are balanced by lower wages and salaries.

We weren’t very surprised by this result. We had made similar observations earlier this year.

Vilify exploitative employers, not exploited immigrant workers. Or: Why Stu Bykofsky got it wrong. Again.

I’m a couple of weeks late with this post (vacation, work, etc...), but I’ve been thinking about it since I read Stu Bykofsky’s latest attack on immigrants in the Philadelphia Daily News. What bothered me most about this piece isn’t the long attack on undocumented workers that he posted in his previous piece on the same topic (which I also commented on). What bothers me is his seeming complete lack of logic in this article.

Fixing Philadelphia

In today’s (3/30/10) Philadelphia Inquirer, Kristen Graham reports “95,000 children are under DHS care in city schools and in out-of-school programs.” This number is way too high as it represents over 35% of the children in the school district. Think about it, we run a school district where more than one in three children are under the supervision of someone other than their parents.
We can sit by and do nothing about this as we have for many years. We can blame teachers as many have done for no reason and with no satisfactory results, or we could recognize and deal with the situation.
Just as we have schools that are so called drop out factories, I suspect, based on socio-economic factors and crime statistics, that we can identify neighborhoods where concentrations of parents at risk of raising children at risk are located. Certainly DHS can confirm if such neighborhoods exist.

Good Morning Congressman Sestak! How You Gonna Vote Today?

UPDATE, 2:53PM: In a vote of 27-21, the HELP committee has passed a non-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act. A full floor vote is next. Only four Democrats voted against this non-inclusive bill: Reps. Yvette Clark, Loretta Sanchez, Rush Holt and Dennis Kucinich. I don't know what Sestak's rationale for voting for a non-inclusive bill is yet. It must be tough for him with the speaker and other House Dem leaders pushing for this bill. However, a non-inclusive bill does not do anything to address the core problems inherent to LGBT workplace discrimination. I'll provide more of an update on next steps when it becomes clear what they are

Dear Congressman,

A lot of us here in Philadelphia vocally supported you last fall. You were a hero on this and other local blogs, and local grassroots groups like Philly for Change and Liberty City endorsed you, and helped your campaign. That's why it's exciting to me that your vote on the markup of a bill today could make a big difference.

Today, your committee (the House Education and Labor committee) will meet at 10 AM and vote to mark up a bill called ENDA to extend employment rights to lesbians and gays. Currently there is no federal law protecting non-heterosexuals from being fired for having sex, in non-working hours, with someone else of the same sex.

Passage of this bill would be a big step forward in establishing, under law, a set of rights and a class of protection for gays and lesbians. However, some members of the queer community have never been able to get or keep jobs, not because of who they sleep with, but because of who they are.

That's right, I am talking about nellies, sissies, butches, genderqueer, and transgender people. Some of these folks identify as a different gender than the sex they were born with, and some identify fully as the sex they were born with--they're just more feminine or masculine than the norm.

These are the people who face the most discrimination in the workplace, and yet some of your colleagues want to remove protections from ENDA that would designate gender identity and gender presentation as protected classes under the law.

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