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Report: Three-Year PA Job Growth Lags

Tom Joseph
HARRISBURG- While many states have watched their economies improve since the recession ended, a new report reveals a different story in Pennsylvania - one in which the state has watched job growth plummet to among the worst in the nation.

Stephen Herzenberg, executive director of Keystone Research Center, says a report being released by his group shows Pennsylvania's 2010 rank of seventh among states in job creation has dropped to 48.

"We're managing to accomplish a slowing of our recovery," he says. "That's a clear indicator that we're on the wrong track and we need a reversal of state policy."

Herzenberg stresses reductions in education funding in recent years - and refusing federal Medicaid expansion dollars - represent the kinds of choices that are holding Pennsylvania back in its economic recovery efforts.

He says the Corbett administration misread the fallout from cuts to education, which resulted in thousands of teachers and support staff losing their jobs.

"That's also slowing down the private-sector economy," he says. "Those folks aren't buying groceries, they aren't shopping at other small businesses.

"Relative to other states, Pennsylvania's recovery has been limping along."

Moving forward, Herzenberg says Pennsylvania would be wise to take an exact opposite approach to some of the decisions made since 2010.

"Middle-class families will enjoy more prosperity and opportunity if we invest in education, if we invest in infrastructure, if we raise our state minimum wage," he maintains. "A shift away from cuts to investing in the future."

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