Press Releases

For Immediate Release
September 24, 2019

For more information, contact
Tricia Harris, | 717.720.5447

PA Chamber’s 29th Economic Survey: Employers Report Record Sales Figures and Growth, But Concerns Over Skills Gap Remain

State tax structure continue to burden employers

HARRISBURG - Employers are feeling confident and positive about the economy, with many expecting to increase sales and grow their business over the coming months.  Yet, despite this positive news, there remains a very real concern among the Commonwealth’s job creators with the status of the state’s workforce; with employers overwhelming stating that the jobs skills gap was the biggest challenge facing their business.  These indicators were among the responses from the PA Chamber’s 29th Economic Survey, which 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.   


“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.  “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.” 


According to the survey of 650 employers, 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.  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 positive economic trends we’ve seen over the past few years were significantly aided by the federal tax reform package that was passed in 2017,” Barr said.  “We are urging state elected officials to follow the lead of the federal government and make much needed changes on the state level.  To that end, we are advocating for a reduction in the state’s Corporate Net Income Tax – which remains one of the highest in the nation – as well as for reforms to that would streamline and simplify the state’s Tax Code and regulatory environment.”


To review the 29th Annual Economic Survey, visit the PA Chamber’s website.


The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry Educational Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) organization created to fund timely and insightful research and educational programs that will positively impact Pennsylvania's economic future and enhance the quality of life for all Pennsylvanians.

The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its statewide membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.