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PA’s Unemployment Picture … Brightens?

There were fewer Pennsylvanians claiming unemployment compensation in May, but is the 5.6 percent jobless rate a good thing? On balance, it is a solid indicator that companies are hiring again. However, troubling numbers continue to lurk.

unemploymentWhile 5,400 state residents found jobs in May, the commonwealth’s labor force actually dropped by 12,000. As you know, that means these folks stopped looking for work. That is never good. What makes PA’s shrinking workforce reality worse is the nation’s total workforce increased by 200,000.

Our state’s total employment also remains below the December 2007 level, the commonly accepted beginning of the recession. Not surprisingly, the theme continues for the national total employment picture as all of the jobs lost during the recession throughout the U.S. have been recovered (except, of course, in PA). And, perhaps not a surprise, 32 other states added greater percentages to their total employment from last May to this May than us.

For the past three years, Pennsylvania’s total state employment, as a percentage, grew the slowest of the country’s 10 largest states:

1 – Texas, 10.37 percent
2 – California, 8.05 percent
3 – Florida, 7.59 percent
4 – Georgia, 6.57 percent
5 – North Carolina, 6.05 percent
6 – Michigan, 5.49 percent
7 – Ohio, 4.68 percent
8 – New York, 4.55 percent
9 – Illinois, 2.76 percent
10 – PA, 2.29 percent

Unemployment Nightmare

unemploymentThe hoops the Corbett administration make people jump through boggles the mind and saddens the soul sometimes.

According to a published report, 50,000 Pennsylvanians have lost their jobless benefits because they failed to follow a Corbett administration requirement to sign up for a website within 30 days of receiving their first UC check.

As reported by WHYY’s Holly Otterbein, “between September 2013 and April, unemployment benefits were halted for about 51,200 applicants — or roughly one in 10 — who did not enroll in time.”

While the JobGateway gives people an outlet (and not a unique one) to finding new work, it should be only that and not an easy excuse to cut people off who need their weekly checks to stay afloat until they find new employment. There are many resources other than JobGateway for unemployed Pennsylvanians to find work. Just because they do not use a state clearinghouse for open positions doesn’t mean they are not looking for work.

Minimum Wage Support Grows – Again!

Min WageThe opponents of raising Pennsylvania’s $7.25 an hour minimum wage like to repeat the same unsubstantiated reasons over and over again. Reminds me of what Albert Einstein said about insanity: “doing (saying) the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

As much as minimum wage opponents beat their drum, they are increasingly being quieted by the growing clamor for the opposite to happen.

A computer services consultant opined this week in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on the subject and delivered another excellent point about why Pennsylvania’s base hourly rate must go up.

“According to the University of California, Berkeley Labor Center, U.S. taxpayers are being fleeced of $240 billion annually (by having governments subsidize their low-wage employees). If the government paid $240 billion of your labor costs and let you keep the profit, wouldn’t you try to prevent change?” Richard Karlin wrote.

“These thieves shout: ‘Prices will rise; stores will close; jobs will be lost!’ Prices may rise a bit, but demands on tax dollars could fall a lot, and our governments are going broke.”

I agree. When we increase PA’s minimum wage, we will lift thousands of workers out of poverty and reduce the stress on our state and federal social safety nets.

Made in PA

Printed books and newspapers, like handwritten notes and letters, are fading away like fond memories. Today, these forms of communication and entertainment are considered dinosaurs, familiar only to younger generations because of their electronic formats accessible on computers, tablets and smart phones.  Unfortunately, as profits have dropped, these companies have had to revamp access to their online editions, making many of them available to paid subscribers alone.  

In the City of Brotherly Love, anyone looking for the latest scoop on current events, art, entertainment and culture knows the go-to resources are the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News or Available online and in hard copy, except, these newspapers are making sure local residents and the rest of the world stay up-to-date on all major issues occurring in the Philadelphia area every day thanks to the dedicated work of their employees, many of whom belong to the Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia – Local 38010 of the Newspaper Guild-Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO, CLC.

Philadelphia InquirerFor more than 50 years, the Inquirer and Daily News have dominated print media in Philadelphia. Their popularity among readers likely correlates with their award-winning status, having won Pulitzer Prizes many times over from their early beginnings through present day. 

Both papers, which are jointly owned, also share ownership and operation of the free news website

While the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News are available in hard copy and electronic format, readers must pay a subscriber’s fee to access all content, regardless of whether they are seeking a physical copy of these papers, their electronic replicas or their online versions. 

In recent years, these newspapers have continued to develop innovative ways of remaining financially stable and culturally relevant, while growing their readership within the media market. Despite wavering revenue and uncertain ownership, one thing is clear: the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and are here to stay.