ISSUE 94 | February 5, 2021
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From Around the Region and the State
Economic and Policy News
PA Senate approves $912M pandemic recovery aid bill
The Pennsylvania state Senate has approved a bill that would distribute over $900 million in pandemic relief funding to schools, hospitality businesses, and people struggling to afford housing costs.

The majority of the money would be allocated to counties to help households pay rent and utility fees.

The bill has not yet been approved by the House of Representatives or Governor Tom Wolf.

Pennsylvania stands to gain 243,000 jobs per year from clean energy investment
A study from the University of Massachusetts Amherst has found that a plan to invest in clean energy could lead to the creation of nearly a quarter-million jobs in Pennsylvania.

According to the authors, a the strategy proposed by ReImagine Appalachia could yield an average of 243,000 jobs per year in energy, public infrastructure, manufacturing, agriculture, and other fields. 

Loans help some businesses survive, others prosper
The Paycheck Protection Program has provided more than $742 million in loans to employers in Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties, and a second round of funding was recently authorized.

The Citizens’ Voice has analyzed the effectiveness of this program and identified the top loan recipients in the region.

The analysis found that the Health Care and Social Assistance industry received the most funding, and that some loan recipients continued to thrive during the pandemic – while others struggled. 

From Around the Nation and the Globe
Economic and Policy News
Fragmented system supports low-income adults without minor children
In the United States, more than 1 in 8 non-elderly adults without young children live in poverty.

A report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities suggests that this population is currently underserved by the nation’s health and economic support systems, which largely focus on helping children and their parents.

Non-elderly adults without minor children have limited access to services like food assistance, housing assistance, and Medicaid. 

Five cities selected as remote work hubs 
A co-living company called Common has selected five cities to host “remote work hubs,” with living and office spaces for young professionals able to work remotely.

The cities share certain characteristics, such as low cost of living and an interest in attracting diverse new talent.

This plan is based on the idea that creating attractive environments for remote workers could help cities strengthen their economies and meet their workforce needs.

Black Americans still left behind as vaccine rollout expands
Although states have recently expanded eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations to include groups like older adults and essential workers, an analysis from Kaiser Health News shows that Black Americans continue to receive vaccines at significantly lower rates than white Americans.

For example, the Black vaccination rate in Pennsylvania is 0.6 percent, compared to a 2.6-percent vaccination rate for white Pennsylvanians.

Research Spotlight: A study from identified Scranton as the third best place in the nation to work remotely, due to factors like low home prices, proximity to larger metro areas, and access to high speed internet.

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