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Two Pennsylvanias? New Penn State study identifies where PA jobs are growing, declining

A new study conducted by researchers at Penn State University has revealed “two different Pennsylvanias” in terms of job growth across the state. (Photo courtesy: PSU)


UNIVERSITY PARK -- A new study conducted by researchers at Penn State University has revealed “two different Pennsylvanias” in terms of job growth across the state.

Several years ago, the United States was hit by what is often referred to as the “great recession.” In Pennsylvania, more than 300,000 jobs were lost from the summer of 2008 until December of 2009.

The country also suffered a minor recession in 2001.

The report, prepared by Dr. Ted Fuller and Dr. Ted Alter, indicates that how Pennsylvania recovered from those recessions differs based on location.

"The southeast [had] strong growth and the rest of the state was a scattered slow growth or actual decline,” said Fuller, a development economist with Penn State who co-authored the report. “"People in the southeast should be feeling pretty good about themselves and the economy. [But] I’m sure there are a lot of disgruntled workers in the rest of the state that have lost jobs."

According to Alter and Fuller, the purpose of their research was to show the public that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to a healthy economy across the state.

“It's really a perplexing problem of how to bolster the southeast but how to revive the rest of the state,” said Fuller. “I mean, this is a tough problem."

“If we don’t embrace the complexity, we probably aren't going to deal effectively with the issue over time,” added Alter.

Alter and Fuller said their report is meant help the public and policy makers identify specifically where the economy is working or not working.

Alter hopes that if people realize it’s not as simple as it was once thought, it can help move the economy forward.

“If we do things like we've done in the past, then we're likely not going to be successful,” said Alter. “What you see for the state as a whole -- isn't necessarily what is happening at the local level. And what you see at the local level isn't necessarily what you see at the state level."

A full version of the report, “Pennsylvania Employment on the Move: 2001-17,” is available to view here.

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