Subscribe to E-Update here.

U.S. Reports Better Jobs Report; PA Unemployment Lower

UnemploymentNo reason yet to jump for joy but the national economy added more new jobs in February than analysts expected. Across the country, employers added 175,000 new checks to their payrolls and that helped to calm fears that the recovery might be stalling. Bloomberg expected 150,000 new jobs to be added last month.

In terms of percentage, Pennsylvania is finally performing better than the national unemployment rate.

The state Department of Labor & Industry today said January’s jobless indicator dropped to 6.4 percent, which was 0.2 percent lower than the national average. It seems like it has been a long time since the commonwealth ad a lower unemployment rate than the U.S.

We’re not out of the woods, however, as L&I reported last month that the commonwealth’s labor force had shrunk by 92,000 in 2013 as employment (job growth) fell by 16,000 jobs and 76,000 people stopped looking for work.

With January’s numbers now on the street, the state is still down 74,000 jobs over the past 12 months.

New Jobs1st Grants Available

Hard to believe it has taken until now for the governor to do something to help people find work, but that is what finally happened this week when he announced the launch of Jobs1st PA Regional Partnership grants.

The program, which Gov. Corbett unveiled during his February budget address, will make $4 million available through L&I and grants will range between $25,000 and $500,000.

Pennsylvania Workforce Development PA Workforce Development The catch is that applications must be from employers who are part of Local Workforce Investment Boards and Partnerships for Regional Economic Performance. Applications are due by April 8 and the forms are HERE. Awards are expected to be announced in early May.

Jobs1st PA has been in existence since 2012. This is the first time the grants have been made available. Let’s see what they deliver.

Independent Contractor Problems

Pennsylvania’s two-year-old law designed to prevent employers from misclassifying employees as independent contractors for the purposes of workers’ and unemployment compensation, and worker classification sent state Labor & Industry investigators into the field in 2013 to look into 25 complaints.

Three substantiated cases of misclassification resulted in administrative penalties totaling $2,500.

The law was created during the 2009-10 legislative session by House Bill 400. Adoption of the law was not unanimous. I voted in favor of it.

The Construction Workplace Misclassification Act is designed to stop employers from calling certain workers independent contractors when those workers have no written contract to perform in that capacity, use employer-provided tools and equipment, receive hourly compensation, have no other permanent place of business, and do not carry their own liability insurance.

Of the 25 complaints filed in 2013, 17 of them occurred in Philadelphia while four came from Harrisburg and three from Scranton.

May (11) and August (7) were the top months, respectively, for the filing of the complaints.

L&I examiners said the top two allegations appeared in 23 of the 25 complaints: workers who didn’t have liability insurance policies of at least $50,000; and workers who did not maintain a business location separate from the employer’s.

This law is about fairness. It is good to see the department beginning to make some headway in this area. And, I’m glad to hear investigators will continue their sweeps of construction sites to ensure compliance.

Contact L&I if you want to be sure you are not violating this Pennsylvania law.

Definition of Disability Under ADA, FMLA

ADA, FMLAHave you ever wondered how or why the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Family and Medical Leave Act define certain disabilities differently? Employers and employees have and the differences are being disputed in court.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia this week that “an impairment is not categorically excluded from being a disability simply because it is temporary,” and employers are said to be paying attention to this case in big ways.

Work law attorney Karen Michael explains in this article.

Made in PA

With so much talk about the Marcellus Shale and its energy and job-producing capabilities, the mechanisms and companies that have helped turn this layer of rock into a successful industry can sometimes be overlooked.

Beyond undisclosed chemicals, the main item responsible for turning this underground formation into an energy giant is a simple device used by our earliest ancestors: a pipe.

Today, thanks to advancements in technology, products like oil and natural gas are transported across cities, throughout the nation and around the world by various types of pipe with the help of custom and standardized pipe fittings and other pipe products that allow for seamless passage. 

Anvil InternationalOne company that has become well-known for making quality, union-made pipes and pipe hardware in Pennsylvania is Anvil International. At its plant in Columbia, the many employees belonging to the Glass Molders Plastics Union, Local 376, are responsible for producing pipe products that are used for oil and gas transport, mining, plumbing and mechanical work, HVAC and industrial and fire protection. 

Originally established as Grinnell Supply Sales, the company became Anvil International in 1999 and continued to manufacture the same product lines for which it originally earned its reputation. 

Known as an outstanding company with superior products, Anvil has maintained its ranking and rapport with customers over the years by developing innovative merchandise and working with individual clients to design solutions that meet their specific needs. With a history dating back more than 150 years and a future that spans indefinitely into the horizon, Anvil International remains the go-to company when it comes to piping, and it is a company of which Pennsylvanians should be proud. 






Anvil International