unemployment benefits

New Pa. Unemployment Numbers Won’t Reassure Pa. Voters about ‘Bidenomics’

Harrisburg, Pa., October 20, 2023 — Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate for September was 3.4%, the 17th highest among all 50 states, according to federal government data released today. 

The data also shows 77,700 Pennsylvanians have dropped out of the labor force since January 2020, and Pennsylvania’s employment growth continues to lag other states. 

“While Pennsylvania has a low unemployment rate, many workers have left the job force entirely, and our state’s economy is growing at a crawl,” said Nathan Benefield, Commonwealth Foundation senior vice president. “Pennsylvania still suffers from government programs that discourage work, high taxes, and oppressive red tape that hold back prosperity.”

A recent statewide survey conducted by the Commonwealth Foundation in late September found only 33% of Pennsylvanians rated the state’s economy as “excellent” or “good.” Nearly two-thirds (63%) rated the state economy as “not so good” or “poor.”

Among Pennsylvania voters, the Commonwealth Foundation survey found:

  • 61% believe economic conditions in Pennsylvania are getting worse. 29% believe economic conditions are getting better.
  • 47% said that they and their families are “worse off” than they were two years ago. Only 13% said they were better off.

Dissatisfaction with the economy continues to be largely driven by inflation and the high cost of living, which puts pressure on family budgets. 

  • 68 percent said inflation and recent price increases have impacted their household’s ability to maintain their standard of living “a great deal” or “a fair amount.”

“While Bidenomics defenders claim inflation is slowing, the reality is that families have faced two plus years of elevated inflation—and their wages and incomes are lower as a result,” said Benefield. “Families don’t think the economy is doing well, because they are poorer than they were three years ago.”

Other survey findings include:

  • 47% said now is a “good time” to find a quality job in Pennsylvania. 32% said it is a “bad time.”
  • 45% said Pennsylvania is “worse for businesses than it was ten years ago.” Only 15% said it was “better for businesses.”

While President Biden has visited Pennsylvania to tout “Bidenomics,” Pennsylvania voters aren’t buying it. Nearly 50% of voters said the president’s policies have “worsened economic conditions in Pennsylvania.” 27% said his policies have “improved economic conditions.”


The Commonwealth Foundation transforms free-market ideas into public policies so all Pennsylvanians can flourish.