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NEW DATA: PA Still Short Over 400,000 Pre-Pandemic Jobs and Small Business Down 25%, Underscoring Need for ARP Recovery Assistance
Keystone Research Center economists Stephen Herzenberg and Maisum Murtaza today published a blog post that interprets the latest job and small business data for Pennsylvania editorial boards, reporters, and other media.
They find that Pennsylvania is still 400,000+ jobs short of the pre-pandemic number and that the nation has a job gap of 10 million, counting the 7.6 million jobs lost since February 2020 and additional jobs needed to keep pace with population growth. PA’s small business revenues are also down 25% since the start of 2020. What’s holding back the economy? Lack of customer demand—many businesses are not fully reopened because their customers have not returned.
Given the still-fragile U.S. economy, the American Rescue Plan (ARP) signed by President Biden, is a lifeline, vital to avoiding the national and Pennsylvania economies backsliding. Twenty-five states that are foregoing federal supplements to unemployment insurance, based on the fiction that this is holding back their economies, are shooting their economies in the foot—to the tune of $22 billion. As Dr. Herzenberg explains, these cutbacks harm not only the workers directly impacted and their families, but local businesses that depend on these workers’ demand.
Other working families and small businesses also get hurt by cuts in the unemployment benefits received by their neighbors: when these cuts slow the overall economic recovery, and extend for months or years—the time it takes to restore the tight pre-pandemic labor markets—wage growth across the board lags and more small businesses will never reopen.