PA Unemployment Drops Below 7 Percent. Tom Corbett Wins*

*Except, of course, if you look inside the numbers

PoliticsPA reports: “Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate fell to 6.9% in December, down from 7.3% in November. This is the lowest rate it’s been in five years and according to the Department of Labor and Industry, it was the largest one-month decline since July 1983.”

Sounds good, right? Gov. Tom Corbett’s camp thinks so. “Governor Corbett is keeping his promises, holding the line on new taxes, restoring fiscal sanity and putting Pennsylvanians back to work,” Corbett campaign spokesman Billy Pitman told PoliticsPA.

Only there’s this:

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Yes, the unemployment rate has fallen. But so has the number of people in the workforce, folks who are either working or trying to get jobs. Let’s look at August’s numbers, for example:

• The labor force contained 6.512 million Pennsylvanians.

• 6.011 million of them were working.

• But 501,200 of them weren’t.

• Which created an unemployment rate of 7.7 percent for the month, the highest of the last half-year.

The number of employed Pennsylvanians actually kept dropping most of the months since then—but so did the unemployment rate. Why? Because workers kept dropping out of the workforce: As of December, the labor force had declined to 6.443 million Pennsylvanians. So the Corbett Administration claims a victory, even though there are actually 11,000 fewer Pennsylvanians working.

The lesson? Math is a damned liar.

Anyway, that doesn’t sound like job creation, and in fact PoliticsPA notes: “For the past two months, Pennsylvania was 46th in job creation (when using a 12 month moving average). This month, the Commonwealth fell to 47th.”

In fairness: Some economists make the case that some of those people dropping out of the workforce these days are Baby Boomers taking early retirement. In which case, the labor force is “rightsizing” itself. But there’s a lot of skepticism about that explanation. Lots of people have simply given up trying to find work. That’s not a policy victory for anybody but the way these numbers are usually reported, it can be made to look that way.

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  • Brian H

    Ok. It’s the EXACT same thing going on with the national unemployment rate. How come Barack Obama can take credit for a reduced unemployment rate but when it’s a Republican Governor it’s just Bad Math.

    • Joel Mathis

      Who is giving Obama a free pass here? He’s not the person releasing statements today taking credit for PA’s falling unemployment rate. If he does, we’ll subject it to the same scrutiny.

      • SteinStein

        Like when our Crown Prince Nobel Laureate bragged about “more than 8 million new jobs our businesses have created over the past four years.”
        Or when he boasted about “the lowest unemployment rate in over five years”.

        Or his preening about “more oil produced at home than we buy from the rest of the world, the first time that’s happened in nearly twenty years” in spite of the fact that his administration has done their best to hinder oil exploration and production.

        But, on the other hand, you are a good lefty boot licker, and people should do what they are good at, so carry on.

  • soupstar

    You libs crack me up. No complaints when Obama makes the same claim with the same math.

  • underemployedinphilly

    Look, I really don’t care who says what. All I want is a damn job that is not part time and pays more than minimum wage. I don’t really think that is asking for the world. Someone needs to get off their lazy butt, stop reporting fictitious unemployment numbers and create ADEQUATE jobs that pay an ADEQUATE wage.

    And stop demonizing the unemployed and/or underemployed while you’re at it!

  • Smarter than the avg bear

    Funny how you hypocritical Republicans just flip flop and twist things to fill your wet dreams. Obama did not get a free ride on unemployment numbers. John BONER and no chin Mitch jumped on the numbers like a pitbull on a pork chop. Just like we have the right to do the same with Tommy Boy’s bullsh1t numbers. BTW How’s that shale drilling working out for you? Less Pennsylvanians working and one of the highest gas rates in the country. Keep drinking the kool aid boys.

  • Mark Schmidt

    GOP = Liars leading fools. Get the t bag trash out of PA office in November.