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Labor Report

Minimum Wage Discharge

Frustrated by the more than 245 days with no consideration – no apparent thought – I announced plans last week to introduce a discharge resolution in the Senate to force full consideration of my bill to increase Pennsylvania’s minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10.

CheckWe need to force consideration because failing to increase the minimum wage at all is becoming dire for those who are only earning $7.25.

Every day there is a story about a city or state that has either voted to approve raising the minimum wage or is strongly considering an increase.

Of the Northeast U.S. states with a minimum wage, Pennsylvania’s minimum wage of $7.25 is the lowest paid to hourly workers.

Maryland’s minimum wage is $8.25 and is set to increase in stages to $10.10 by July 2018. New Jersey’s minimum wage is $8.38 but it is now indexed to the Consumer Price Index. New York’s base hourly rate is $8.75 and is going to $9 at the end of this year, while Gov. Andrew Cuomo is fighting for a $15 minimum. Ohio is paying $8.10 an hour and will pay more when the CPI is adjusted. West Virginia’s $8 minimum wage is set to hit $8.75 after Christmas. Finally, Delaware is paying $8.25.

You may watch my press conference here.

In addition to Senate Bill 195, one of my other minimum wage bills would adjust the wage annually based on the Consumer Price Index, or CPI. New Jersey added that language to their new law in 2013 when voters overwhelmingly said they wanted it – but the CPI didn’t budget this year, so no increase for NJ minimum wage earners.

The University of California will begin paying a $13 minimum wage this Thursday. That frontline rate will be increased to $14 in 2016; $15 in 2017.

National Unemployment -- Our Take

UnemploymentThe U.S. unemployment rate remained at 5.1 percent in September. Despite the continuation of that number, jobless rolls shed 114,000 individuals, with total unemployment standing at 7.9 million.

Still, analysts expected better – and the 142,000 new jobs in September didn’t make many of them smile.

The nation’s economy has now added 229,000 new jobs each month, on average, since last year, with employment growth exceeding 200,000 in eight of those months. Total national employment is four million jobs stronger than when the recession began in December 2007.

The next Pennsylvania unemployment report (for September) is due to be issued Oct. 16.

Philadelphia’s seasonally adjusted local unemployment rate is tied for the third highest in the state among all counties at 6.8 percent:

  1. Cameron County - 7.3 percent
  2. Fayette, Forest counties - 7.2 percent
  3. Cambria, Philadelphia counties - 6.8 percent
  4. Huntingdon, Monroe counties 6.6 percent
  5. Clearfield, Clinton, Somerset counties - 6.5 percent
  6. Luzerne, Venango counties - 6.3 percent
  7. Lycoming, Pike, Potter, Schuylkill counties - 6.2 percent
  8. Armstrong, Jefferson, Lawrence, Sullivan, Tioga counties - 6.1 percent
  9. Fulton, Northumberland counties - 6.0 percent
  10. Bedford, Bradford, Indiana counties - 5.9 percent

Chester County had the lowest rate in the state in August at 3.6 percent.