PSU Economists Look Past Recession

recessionA lot has been made about the current recession, but a few people have already begun looking past it to the eventual economic upturn. Specifically, Penn State economists: Theodore Alter, Theodore Fuller and Stephen Smith recently co-authored a report titled “Pennsylvania: Road to Growth”. The 68-page document looks into which industries in PA will experience employment increases or decreases in the coming upturn.

Basically, what they found out was that industries and areas that were adding jobs before the recession, the period from 2001-2007, will likely continue to do so post-recession, while those that subtracted jobs will continue to do so as well. Smith said, “The recent fast growth in the urban and suburban counties in the southeast means they will be more likely to add jobs during an upturn than some of the more rural northern-tier and western border counties.”

“The data point to likely post-recession winners and losers among the state’s 19 business sectors and 278 industries across these sectors,” Alter said. “A prime candidate for continuing growth is the health and social services sector. This sector added jobs in all 67 counties, and in 14 of the 17 industries in the sector between 2001 and 2007. Likely to continue to decline is the manufacturing sector. Manufacturing lost jobs in 59 counties and in 71 of the 79 industries in the sector during the last business cycle.”

Ed. Note: boldface added

Both of Alter’s points make sense. Healthcare jobs are increasing, in part because of the aging of Pennsylvania, and manufacturing jobs are going the way for the dodo due to cheap foreign competition. The report also noted that Pennsylvania’s employment and population growth in the 2001-2007 period was subpar compared to the rest of the nation, which could make it hard to increase economic performance when the next upturn does occur.

For those interested in having a copy of the report, you can get it online here. Or, if you’d like a paper copy, PA residents can request a free one by contacting the College of Agricultural Sciences Publications Distribution Center at (814) 865-6713 or by e-mailing them here.

Kudos for the trio for having foresight to look into the future.


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Eli Glazier

Eli is a junior majoring in International Politics. He enjoys paninis and books.


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