ISSUE 69 | July 2, 2020
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From Around the Region and the State
Economic and Policy News
A more diverse region means a more vibrant economy
Teri Ooms, executive director of The Institute, recently discussed how changing demographics may affect the future of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

The region’s proportion of older adults is larger than average, and many are likely to retire in the near future.

As a result, it is important to attract a talented workforce to the region in order to fill job openings and meet the needs of the aging population.

Evictions could begin before PA rental assistance program can provide relief
Pennsylvania is providing $150 million in rental assistance to people struggling to pay rent due to the pandemic.

There are concerns that the program will not take effect quickly enough to prevent evictions, however.

Applications will be accepted starting July 6 – only a few days before the end of the statewide eviction moratorium.

Metro employment skyrockets; 7,000 jobs added
New data from the Department of Labor and Industry show signs of economic improvement in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton metropolitan area.

The region’s unemployment rate fell by nearly three percent, as 7,000 jobs were restored in May.

Unemployment is still very high at 15.5 percent, however, and the labor force has shrunk because many unemployed people have stopped searching for work.

From Around the Nation and the Globe
Economic and Policy News
Low-wage workers have suffered badly from COVID-19, and policymakers should focus on equity
Discussions about funding police departments have sparked interest in the budgets of local governments.

Although such information is generally available to the public, it is not always easy to understand.

Some advocates are calling for cities to adjust their budget reporting to be more transparent and accessible. 

The ins and outs of city budgets
Low-income workers and people of color have suffered disproportionately from economic and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Brookings report argues that as state and local governments reopen their economies, leaders should ensure that low-wage and minority workers are not forced to choose between personal safety and financial security.

Hollowed-out public health system faces more cuts amid virus
An investigation by Kaiser Health News and The Associated Press examined the effects that decades of budget and staffing cuts by federal, state, and local governments have had on the nation’s public health systems.

The investigation found that funding for health departments has decreased substantially in the last decade, and that more than 38,000 public health jobs have disappeared since the Great Recession, leaving a “skeletal workforce.”

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