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September 28, 2023 4:12 pm

National News

Biden’s Economic Plan Bringing Slow but Steady Improvement Across State

AP Photo

Reinette LeJeune

Using certain key metrics – state employment, unemployment insurance claims, GDP, supplemental poverty, and vaccination rates – we can interpret the current progress of our state’s economic recovery through Biden’s economic plans, which are showing positive signs of growth.

Since January 2021, the Pennsylvania economy has added 276,500 jobs, bringing the state’s unemployment rate down from 7.5 percent to 4.8 percent. That still sits higher than the national average of 3.6 percent, which leaves an estimated 6 million Americans – and roughly 308,000 Pennsylvanians – still unemployed. Despite this, state officials have reported that 84 percent of the jobs lost between February 2020 and April 2020 have been regained. The largest addition happened in the state’s second-largest sector (trade, transportation, and utilities), which saw 55,500 new jobs between January 2021 and April 2022. The largest sector (educational and health services) added 31,000 new jobs, while the third-largest sector (professional and business services) added 36,200 new jobs. Initial claims for Unemployment Insurance in Pennsylvania fell 85 percent since President Biden took office, from around 34,000 at the start of the Administration to about 5,100 for the week ending May 28, 2022. Quit rates, used as a measure of labor market strength, rose from 1.8 percent in January 2021 to 2.3 percent in March 2022.

Pennsylvania’s Gross domestic product (GDP), the standard measure of the added value created through the production of goods and services in a country during a certain period, grew 6.4 percent at an annual rate in the 4th quarter of 2021. This is a substantial acceleration compared with growth rates in 2020. In the financial services and real estate sector, real GDP grew 4.0 percent at an annual rate in the 4th quarter of 2021. In the manufacturing sector, real GDP grew 11.4 percent at an annual rate in the 4th quarter of 2021. In the professional and business services sector, real GDP grew 7.5 percent at an annual rate in the 4th quarter of 2021.

During President Biden’s first year in office, Pennsylvanians applied to start more new businesses than in any other year since funding programs started in 2005 – with a total of 1.1 million small businesses active at the end of that year. With the introduction of Congressional Republicans’ 2017 tax plan, 50.8 percent of small business owners within the state, and 80.4 percent of small business owners earning less than $50,000 per year, will see their taxes increase. Small businesses affected would likely see taxes increase by $800. 

Pennsylvania’s Supplemental Poverty Measure was projected at 5.8 percent for 2021, a considerable decrease from 2018’s 11.4 percent. Likewise, children under 18 were projected at 10.5 percent in 2018 down to 3.5 percent in 2021. The year also saw the number of fully vaccinated Pennsylvanians go from 0 to 8,819,000 as of May 2022.