Blog: PA Job Growth Slows Once Again in 2013

Stephen Herzenberg
Publication Date: 
March 5, 2014

Stephen HerzenbergCross posted at Third and State

By several measures, Pennsylvania’s economic recovery is still limping along. That is the essential finding of a new policy brief from the Keystone Research Center examining Pennsylvania job growth since the recession ended.

Job growth in the state has slowed steadily over each of the past three years with only about a quarter of the number of jobs created in 2013 as in 2010, the first full year of the economic recovery.

in 2013, Pennsylvania ranked 48th out of the 50 states in job growth, compared to seventh in 2010. The state’s unemployment rate, meanwhile, has hovered at or above the national jobless rate since mid-2012.

If job creation is the test for effective policies, Harrisburg needs to re-evaluate its approach.

To be clear, new jobs have been created, and unemployment declined to a five-year low in 2013 — signs of progress. Still, job growth in 2013 was less than a quarter of the 83,600 jobs created in 2010. The number of new jobs created has declined every year since 2010 — coming in at 45,900 in 2011, 34,600 in 2012, and 19,000 in 2013. (See Figure 1.)
Figure 1. Overall job growth in PA has slowed down
Private-sector job growth followed a similar trajectory – coming in at 88,600 in 2010, 71,700 in 2011, 42,900 in 2012, and 28,200 in 2013. (See Figure 2.)
Figure 2. Private-sector job growth in PA has slowed down
A few years ago, Pennsylvania's economy was riding high above the waves coming out of the recession. Since 2011, however, the economy has been taking on water. Now would be the time for the Legislature and the Governor to re-evaluate policies such as cutting education funding and refusing federal Medicaid expansion dollars that could give Pennsylvania’s state and regional economies a much-needed shot in the arm.