Two reports came out today on jobs in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia, offering, superficially at least, very different prognoses for the job market in our region. The City Controller's Office found that job availability — that is, the number of jobs for every unemployed person — and wages were up significantly in Philadelphia from a few years ago. But the Keystone Research Center, which released its "State of Working PA" report today, found that statewide, job growth has slowed and wages have declined since 2010.
After an initially strong recovery from the recession, Pennsylvania has ranked 46th in the nation in job growth since January 2011. "We had an early advantage coming out of the recesssion," KRC economist Mark Price says. But due to government policies, "we lost that advantage."
Pennsylvania saw employment growth of 1.3 percent; in Philadelphia it was just 0.3 percent.
KRC found that state budget decisions were the largest factor in weighing down the job market. They estimate that between January 2011 and July 2013, Pennsylvania lost 45,000 public-sector jobs, mostly in elementary and secondary schools. The impact of those layoffs also was felt in the private sector, says Price. "When you're laying off teachers and other public-sector workers, they're not spending money."