Jobs and the economy are voters’ top concerns, so every candidate in 2014 from Governor on down is watching the numbers closely.
This is an ongoing feature. PoliticsPA will report the employment situation each month as the numbers come out.
Last month, the government shutdown waylaid the Bureau of Labor Statistics, meaning no report was published for September.
Here’s what the numbers mean.
The good news
The Corbett administration is calling these numbers a positive thing in a press release sent out as soon as the numbers were available. Though small, it is a decrease in the unemployment rate.
With a gain of 5,700 in October, private sector jobs reached a total of 5,054,400. The most significant gain was in professional and business services, which added 7,700 jobs to reach a record high of 748,600 jobs.
“Pennsylvania has now added 142,700 private-sector jobs since the beginning of the Corbett Administration in 2011,” said Labor and Industry Secretary Julia Hearthway.
The so-so news
Employment growth wasn’t equal across all sectors in September or October. The same sectors grew or shrank over both months.
Employment type winners: construction, manufacturing, financial activities, professional & business services, educational and health services, leisure and hospitality.
The losers: government employees, information, trade, transportation and utilities, mining and logging.
The bad news
Nationally, the unemployment rate has hovered around 7.3% since the summer, while Pennsylvania has floundered a bit with a slightly higher rate. The Democratic candidates for governor are sure to jump on this fact as they attack Corbett on his jobs record. The decrease in unemployment this month brings PA back to the January level.
The really bad news:
Pennsylvania moved to 45th in job creation since August when the state was ranked 42nd. The fall began in September when Pa. slipped from 42 to 44. To determine Pa.’s job growth rank, PoliticsPA and most economists look at a 12 month moving average of jobs numbers.
The only states that are below Pennsylvania now are Alabama, Alaska, Iowa and New Mexico.