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Pennsylvania Pessimism

This article takes exception to Pennsylvania’s generally dour outlook on its future.

But if ever there were a case that documents what the economist Joseph Schumpeter described as “creative destruction,” it’s what happened in Pennsylvania. Steel and other manufacturing industries were indeed shattered by competition from the globalized economy that was just emerging. But new industries that nobody could then have imagined took their place, and they provided new jobs, year after year.

Employment in Pennsylvania reached an all-time high in January 2008, and then fell slightly in February. People there fear that a steep recession may be coming. But as of February, the last month for which statistics are available, unemployment Wall-Street-Layoffs in Pennsylvania was just 4.9 percent. Since January 2003, the state has added a total of 178,000 new jobs, according to the state government.

Where did all these jobs come from?  According to the article, technology and health care sectors, bolstered by our state’s large number of universities.  The big problem with this outlook is that, while unemployment may be low, young people are still leaving the state for opportunities elsewhere.  Pennsylvania’s chief problem is a high tax burden, and a regulatory environment that’s still mired in the obsolete industrial era policies.  If Pennsylvania wants to be truly dynamic, it has to find ways to cut taxes, and reign in state government.

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