Democrats are pouring on the criticism of Gov. Tom Corbett for his suggestion that Pennsylvania's sluggish job growth stems partly from too many applicants being unable to pass a drug test.
In an interview with PAMatters.com on Monday, the Republican governor cited anecdotal evidence the drug testing issue is part of the reason Pennsylvania's March unemployment rate exceeded the 7.6 percent national rate.
There are "many employers that say, 'We're looking for people but we can't find anybody that has passed a drug test.' A lot of them," Corbett said. "And that's a concern for me because we're having a serious problem with that."
Reacting to Corbett's remarks, state Treasurer Rob McCord said the governor does not understand the economy or the nature of unemployment.
McCord, who is considered a likely candidate for his party's gubernatorial nomination, said, "It's not rocket science, but it seems to elude (Corbett)."
John Hanger, who has declared his candidacy for the Democratic nod for governor, agreed Wednesday.
"Gov. Corbett insults Pennsylvanians looking for a job, full-time work or simply a better job by saying they can't pass drug tests. He clearly does not understand our economy or what it takes to get out-of-work Pennsylvanians back on the job,'' said Hanger, a former state environmental protection secretary and former state utility regulator.
At the state Department of Labor and Industry, spokeswoman Theresa Elliott said Wednesday that top department officials have anecdotal evidence to support the governor's comments but they have no statistical data on the pass-fail rate of workplace drug testing.