Sen. Vincent J. Fumo

District Office

1208 Tasker Street
Phila, PA 19148

Harrisburg Office

545 Main Capitol
Hbg, PA 17120




June 5, 2000

TO:           Editorial Writers:

FROM:      Gary Tuma
                 Communications Director

SUBJECT: Job Growth Statistics

In a recent issue of the online publication Salon, the Ridge administration criticized Sen. Vincent Fumo for providing reporters with annual statistics showing Pennsylvania’s job-growth ranking among the 50 states.

The governor’s spokesman was quoted decrying as excessively partisan the practice of releasing these figures. He also said the administration is “amazed when people are willing to tear down Pennsylvania,” to take a shot at the administration’s job growth record.

Although I assume that reporters have appreciated and will continue to appreciate someone providing them with accurate data about job growth in Pennsylvania, I would like to explain that we are amazed that they are amazed. Here’s why.

The administration should be quite comfortable with the fact that these statistics have partisan implications. During his campaign for governor and in the early years of his administration, the current governor did not hesitate to cite what he characterized as the poor job-creation record of the previous administration. At one point, he claimed, in words to this effect, that when he took office, it was as if a big sign stood at our borders reading: No New Jobs Allowed. Apparently it was OK to tear down Pennsylvania when speaking of our No. 45 ranking during the previous Democratic administration, but it’s not OK now.  

Then in the Dec. 21, 1997 issue of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Leslie Gromis, Ridge’s reelection campaign manager at the time, said “jobs will be the No. 1 issue in this campaign.”  

So, first they criticize the opposition party’s record on job creation, then they identify jobs as the No. 1 issue in a political campaign, but when someone distributes objective data reflecting  their performance, they whine about partisanship.

Which brings us to the issue of that performance itself. The Salon article repeated the fiction that Pennsylvania had climbed from 45th under the previous administration to 16th in 1998. If we are talking about net creation of new jobs, that is simply untrue. From U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, here is Pennsylvania’s annual standing in job creation, comparing year-end numbers from one December to the next, since the first year of the current administration:


1995                        43rd

1996                         35th

1997                        43rd

1998                        42nd

1999                        47th


From available data so far in 2000, using the 12-month period from April of 1999 to April of this year, we rank 44th. 

It is amusing to see once again in the Salon article the administration justify Pennsylvania’s low job creation ranking by citing our population loss. One of the reasons people choose to move out of a state is their inability to find a good job. Furthermore, this administration’s business tax cut agenda was supposed to bring jobs into this state, wasn’t it? Or is that big sign still at our borders? 

Sen. Fumo’s point has not been that the current administration has done any worse than the previous administration. Rather, it is this: To the extent that we have enjoyed a healthy job climate, it is because we have benefitted from the strong national economy, and it is difficult for the current administration to argue that its pro-business policies have instigated any sort of transformation in our individual state’s job creation picture, as some would like to have the people of Pennsylvania believe. Those policies have helped the bottom lines of big corporations, but they’ve done little for average working people, at least in terms of providing new jobs. Coming out of a recession, we were creating an average of 80,000 new jobs per year at the end of the previous administration, between 1992 and 1994, and we ranked 45th  in the country. Last year, in the midst of a mature national economic boom, we created 5,900 new jobs and ranked 47th.  

Sen. Fumo is not trying to “tear down Pennsylvania” to take a shot at the administration. On the other hand, he is not going to allow others to misrepresent the job-growth climate in this state when accurate information to the contrary is available.

Copyright 2000 Sen. Vincent J. Fumo