All this gloomy talk about jobs is interesting, considering how Hillary Clinton’s most high-profile supporter in the state–Governor Ed Rendell–sees the situation in Pennsylvania. He suggests that the economic picture there is somewhat more complex than either of the candidates would have us believe.
In an interview a few weeks back, Rendell told me he believes that there is actually a lot of good news in the Pennsylvania economy. “It is not Ohio or Michigan,” Rendell said. “Pennsylvania is the only large state in the country that does not have a deficit.” And indeed, Rendell said he expects to end the current fiscal year with a half-billion dollar surplus.
The total number of jobs in the state, he says, is the highest in its history. “We are doing well economically,” he said. “And we have diversified our economy much more than most individual states.” That is not to say that there aren’t areas where Pennsylvania has problems, which is why the issue of the economy does rank highest among the concerns of Pennsylvania voters. The state has been particularly hard hit by jobs moving overseas, and is one of the top recipients of federal Trade Adjustment Act assistance.
Its demographics do play in Hillary Clinton’s favor. Pennsylvania’s population is one of the oldest in the country, and it has a large number of relatively low-wage workers.