By Emma Jacobs, Newsworks, WHYY, August 29, 2012
The liberal group Keystone Research Center paints a discouraging picture of Pennsylvania in its latest jobs reports.
The findings, released Wednesday, show lagging employment numbers and declining median household income.
Center economist Mark Price says Pennsylvania’s job numbers are not recovering fast enough to absorb people laid off during the recession and young people entering the job market for the first time.
“One of the more grim facts from the past year is that the jobs deficit has actually increased in the last 12 months by roughly 74,000 jobs. So, essentially, the Pennsylvania labor market is not performing very well,” Price said, “It’s losing ground.”
Price says a weak labor market has held down wages — except among those with the highest income, according to the latest data available from 2010. Price says that the top 1 percent of earners captured three-quarters of Pennsylvania’s income growth.
The report, which now goes out to state legislators, recommends increasing government spending to stimulate job growth and a hike in Pennsylvania’s minimum wage.