29th Annual Economic Survey Shows Status of State’s Workforce Continues to Concern Employers

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

The results from the PA Chamber’s 29th Economic Survey show that employers are feeling confident and positive about the economy, however, there remains a very real concern among the Commonwealth’s job creators with the status of the state’s workforce.  The survey of 650 employers was conducted in August 2019 by Susquehanna Polling and Research and was completed in partnership with The Initiative for Family Business and Entrepreneurship at Saint Joseph’s University.   

According to the survey, job creators listed difficulties finding skilled and qualified employees to fill open positions as the biggest problems facing their companies.  This represents the second year in a row that workforce has been employers “top of mind” issue. 

“The economic strides we’ve seen over the past few years has led to low unemployment in the Commonwealth,” said PA Chamber President and CEO Gene Barr in a press release unveiling the results of the survey.  “However, there continue to be people without jobs and job openings without the people with the skills to fill them.  The growing jobs skills gap continues to be a major concern for the Commonwealth’s business community. It’s a problem that stretches across all industry sectors in every region of the state.  We’re proud to be working with a broad coalition of organizations and lawmakers dedicated to finding innovative solutions to address the Commonwealth’s jobs skills gap.” 

Only a combined 43 percent rated the quality of the state’s workforce as either “excellent” or “good” – the second lowest ranking on record – with 20 percent rating it as “poor,” – a new high in this category.  It was based on the feedback from its members that the PA Chamber launched its aggressive workforce initiative in 2016 – Start the Conversation Here – designed to help address the skills gap that continues to plague businesses throughout the state.

Employers also once again cited concerns with the state’s tax structure.  Nearly 55 percent of respondents listed lowering business taxes as one of the top issues they want legislators to focus on in Harrisburg.

The 29th Annual Economic Survey is available on the PA Chamber’s website.