An annual study of employment and wage conditions in Pennsylvania estimates the jobless rate in the state would be around 14% without the economic policy actions of the Bush and Obama Administrations, Congress and the Federal Reserve. Pennsylvania's unemployment rate for July was 9.3%.
Mark Price, labor economist for the liberal-leaning Keystone Research Center, says the economy is a product of conscious choices..."Federal policy stopped the economic free fall and policy choices at the national and state level will powerfully shape the future healthy of the economy for middle-class families."
Price says before the federal stimulus program Pennsylvania was losing nearly 30,000 jobs a month, and during the first half of 2010 actually added 64,000 jobs.
Price says Pennsylvania is still nearly 300,000 jobs short of full employment and to close the gap in the next 5 years, the state would have to create 7,900 jobs a month, but that's 3 times larger than the average job growth during the last economic expansion.
"The longer people remain unemployed, the greater the risk they will become permanently detached from the labor market. These are folks whose skill will atrophy and they are people who may find it difficult to get a job because an employer will look at their resume and see they've got a big gap in their employment history."
Price says Congress can still take action on legislation that "makes a lot of sense" before the mid-term elections...including a bill to improve credit conditions for small businesses and tax cuts directed at workers and businesses.