SSTI Digest

The latest reporting and analysis on breakthroughs in technology-based economic development research and issues that matter most to you. To receive the SSTI Weekly Digest via email, sign up here.


Geography: Pennsylvania

Racial disparities in labor market outcomes examined

A new commentary from a senior policy analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland examines the extent to which disparities exist between Black and whites in labor market outcomes such as levels of labor force participation, unemployment rates, and earnings. Economic inclusion trends have been studied at the national level, but this commentary takes a look at how those disparities vary within and across states with a specific look at the Fourth Federal Reserve District states of Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Reports outline strategy for heart of Appalachia to benefit from clean energy

While the Appalachian region began the 21st century by expanding the reaches of its fossil fuel industries, clean energy development and carbon emission reductions are not yet out of reach for Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. A set of reports developed by the University of Massachusetts’ Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) present opportunities available to these states for the advancement of clean energy technologies within the region while also detailing the economic and employment benefits of potential climate stabilization programs.

Workforce, broadband, rural investments at play in governors’ plans for economic development

As governors continue to roll out their State-of-the State addresses in the month of February, we continue to see a heavy focus on recovering from the pandemic. Given most state’s fiscal condition, governors have been generally hesitant to roll out new initiatives during this time, although broadband continues to receive attention, especially with the renewed attention surrounding its importance during the pandemic.

Fracking industry failing to contribute to broader regional growth in Appalachia, study finds

While natural gas production has continued to expand throughout the Appalachian region, the surrounding communities have yet to experience the economic and social benefits that were initially seen as surefire byproducts of the natural gas industry’s growing footprint within the area, according to a new report.

A remembrance: Richard L. Thornburgh (1932-2020)

As 2020 came to a close, we received word that former Pennsylvania Gov. Dick Thornburgh had passed away on Dec. 31. Obituaries in the New York TimesWashington Post and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, rightly focused on his tenure as U.S. Attorney General and his two terms as governor, including his handling of Three Mile Island shortly after becoming governor. But I would like to focus on his legacy as it relates to technology-based economic development (TBED) and as a person.

New funding available for tech-based companies impacted by coronavirus in PA

In Pennsylvania, the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) announced last week that new funding is available to help technology-based companies impacted by COVID-19.

States dealt blow with pandemic

In general, the effect of the pandemic on states’ budgets due to the wave of business, retail, and commerce shutdowns, as well as other reduced economic activity across the nation, is not entirely known, or too early to forecast; however, a number of states are beginning to experience the initial impacts of a substantial downturn. With several states having already enacted their 2020-21 budgets, special sessions are expected later this year to deal with declining revenues. Others ended sessions early without a new fiscal year spending plan in place.

States launching innovation initiatives across the country

Proving that innovation is appealing to states regardless of their size or political leanings, new initiatives in both Democratic and Republican states, as well as large states like California and small states like Vermont, are driving innovation agendas into action in areas ranging from clean energy and aid for students and colleges, to new venture capital investments and bond financing to support business collaborations with higher education to help translate cutting-edge research into products and companies.

Workforce development key to state economic development initiatives

A report on employment trends from hiring firm Robert Half found that 2020 presents greater challenges for employers looking to expand their workforce as the country’s labor market is near full employment and job openings remain at high levels.

Tech Talkin’ Govs 2020: AL, CT, MD, OK, PA, TN, WY look to education, workforce and energy initiatives

With nearly 40 of the state governors now having given a state of the state or budget address, innovation themes continue to echo in their reviews of past accomplishments and plans for the coming year.

Manufacturing wage growth supporting Appalachian economy

Earnings for Appalachian manufacturing workers grew 3.4 percent from 2012 through 2017 to an average of $63,583. The growth is in the Appalachian Regional Commission’s Industrial Make-up of the Appalachian Region, 2002-2017, which reviews employment and wages by sector across the region. Appalachian workers overall saw earnings increase by 3.7 percent over the five years.

NC, PA advancing climate initiatives

Last week Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf issued an executive order directing the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), joining nine other Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states in a market-based collaboration to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and combat climate change. And in North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper’s Climate Change Interagency Council presented four key plans related to clean energy and climate change, the result of the governor’s executive order signed last year to reaffirm the state’s commitment to fighting climate change and transition the state to a clean energy economy.

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