Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett is up for reelection in 2014 and there’s already reason for concern among Republicans. A recent Quinnipiac poll showed Corbett trailing three of his potential Democratic challengers by at least nine percentage points. When Corbett took Office in 2011, Pennsylvania was in 7th place in terms of job creation. Since that time, the state has slid down to 49th place, coming in just ahead of Wyoming.
In this month’s “Ask the Governor” interview with PAMatters.com, Corbett was asked to comment on the downward spiral. Corbett first took issue with the state rankings on job creation. “What I dispute is the use of statistics,” he explained. “There are three kinds of lies. Lies, damned lies, and statistics,” he continued. (H/t Mark Twain?) According to Corbett, other states had more ground to make up in terms of unemployment, so the employment rate in those states increased at a faster rate than it did in Pennsylvania.
That aside, Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate remains above the national average. According to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate stands at 7.9%, while the national average is 7.6%. Although the rate decreased slightly compared to February’s report, the number of people actively seeking work decreased by 33,000.
Whether or not Corbett is on board with his state’s ranking on job creation, there’s no disputing that there’s still much to be done to get people back to work. In the “Ask the Governor” interview, Corbett had several suggestions to combat unemployment. He referenced a new focus on job training, specifically in the shale industry, as well as partnerships with community colleges. But there’s something else putting a damper on employment, according to Corbett.
“There are many employers that say, ‘We're looking for people but we can't find anybody that has passed a drug test,’ he explained.
The governor offered no evidence to back up his remark.
Take a look at the Hardball Sideshow for more on Governor Corbett’s remarks on job growth in Pennsylvania.