State experiencing some record trends on economic front

In case you have not noticed, we live in cynical times. Good news tends to be greeted by naysaying from a largely negative media.

The economy is no exception to the tone of the times. Presidential candidates openly tout socialism as a campaign centerpiece and a superior alternative to the capitalistic system that the country has thrived on for nearly 250 years.

So you be the judge, based on the most recent facts.

Last week the stock market rose to an all-time high for the Dow Jones Industrial Average. That can’t help but be a bonanza for millions of everyday Americans who depend on their stocks-dominated 401(k) for their retirement nest egg.

But perhaps of greater importance to people in our region is Pennsylvania’s employment picture.

The state’s unemployment rate dropped in March to the lowest rate on record, payrolls reached a new record high and the number of people unemployed shrank to its lowest level since 2000, according to the state Department of Labor and Industry.

The unemployment rate sits at 3.9 percent in Pennsylvania, one of the nation’s slowest-growing state economies in recent decades. The drop brings the state’s unemployment below 4 percent for the first time since the department started keeping such records in 1976.

The state’s labor force grew by 5,000 in March, the most recent recorded month, to a new record high of more than 6.2 million.

The median wage growth in the state — an indicator of shared wealth — rose 3 percent in March, with the average hourly wage reaching $19.27 an hour.

It’s worth noting these employment and wage numbers will eventually have an impact on the state’s coffers and impact its budget picture in a positive way.

The spin masters can politicize the economy like any other issue to fit their preferred viewpoint and persuasion goals.

But the bottom line is that none of these record, positive numbers were a reality until the trends of the past two years.


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