Pa.’s healthcare job sector on the mend

    Pennsylvania’s Independent Fiscal Office has released its first report on the commonwealth’s economic outlook for the next five years.

    It attributes a poor economic showing at the end of 2011 to state and local government job layoffs.

    But, the state’s health-care sector, among the largest in the country, is showing job growth and those positions could multiply.

    Pennsylvania’s elderly population is growing, which could cause public welfare spending to increase, said Matthew Knittel, IFO director.

    “Potentially, it depends on how the commonwealth responds to it. The revenues drive the expenditures, so we’re not sure,” he said. “Our job here was to present the situation left unchanged, if we took our policy from 2011-12, forward, what does the fiscal situation look like?”

    The IFO was created in 2010 and funded last year to provide economic analysis that isn’t beholden to any political party.

    It’s legally required to issue its first report in January. Knittel said the office will release revenue estimates in May.

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