Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Beyond the Burgh - Peak Pennsylvania Labor Force as well

I tend to forget the state stuff, but I should have noticed this. Pennsylvania hit a new all-time labor force peak with the September data that came out a couple weeks ago. 

Link: Data and chart from BLS.

Specifically the PA labor force is showing over 6.5 million for the first time ever.  Topping a peak of 6.482 million hit in November of 2008.    

Must not mean anything since nobody notices such things.   Yet this really matters in ways you may not realize.  It turns out that a big chunk of the official budget projections calculated by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are crucially dependent on what is projected to happen with labor force participation rates (see last slide).  Seriously.. it works out that lower LFP = bad for state revenue projections, higher LFP  = higher revenue projections. 

It's funny anticipating how much angst there will be debating the state budget, but virtually no notice of the numbers that will actually shape that debate up front. The way it works in Pennsylvania is that it all starts with the revenue projections.   One could argue that it ends there as well.