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New York, New Jersey to Lose Some Congressional Clout

Dec. 21 (Bloomberg) -- New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania will lose political influence in Congress over the next decade as job losses in the region contributed to slower population growth, according to government data released today.

New York will have 27 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, down from 29, the Census Bureau said in Washington. The agency’s state-by-state headcounts for 2010 determine reapportionment of the 435 seats in the House, one of the two chambers in Congress.

The slowing pace of population growth in the Northeast is a decades-long trend spurred in part by the decline of manufacturing jobs in the region. The faster-growing South and West regions will gain House seats, as companies have been shifting jobs there in response to financial incentives by state and local governments and the lack of strong labor unions.

“States are willing to give huge tax benefits to companies that locate there,” said Ross Baker, a political scientist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

The decline in New York marks the seventh consecutive decade in which it will have lost House seats. With 27 seats for the next decade, the state will have its smallest delegation in 200 years and will dip to 40 percent below its high of 45 seats after the 1930 and 1940 reapportionments.

New Jersey

New Jersey will lose one representative in the House, bringing its tally to 12, based on today’s 2010 Census data. That will be the lowest total for the state since 1920 and will mark the second time in the past three decades it will have lost seats.

Pennsylvania will see its representation fall to 18, compared with 19 this past decade. The state’s House delegation will be reduced for the ninth consecutive reapportionment. It had 36 seats a century ago.

New York’s population during the past decade grew 2.1 percent, to 19.4 million, compared with 5.5 percent the previous 10 years, today’s census data showed. In New Jersey, growth slowed to 4.5 percent, from 8.9 percent in the 1990s.

Pennsylvania saw its population expand 3.4 percent between 2000 and 2010 -- the same as the previous decade.

Payrolls at manufacturers in Pennsylvania declined 35 percent during the last 10 years, according to estimates from Moody’s using data from the U.S. Labor Department. During that same period the unemployment rate climbed 8.6 percent from 4.1 percent, government figures show.

Jobless Rate

The jobless rate in New Jersey this past decade increased to 9.2 percent, from 3.8 percent. Unemployment in New York in November was 8.3 percent, compared with 4.7 percent in January 2000, according to U.S. Labor Department data.

The lack of employment has dealt a blow to state and municipal budgets, resulting in job cuts for government workers.

“All three states had employment fall between 2000 and 2010,” said Steven Cochrane, director of regional economics at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania. “The biggest losses were in manufacturing. When you look at where there was growth, it’s almost all in education and health care.”

Some companies in the Northeast are still cutting workers. West Pharmaceutical Services Inc., based in Lionville, Pennsylvania, on Dec. 7 announced plans to close a manufacturing facility in the state, resulting in the loss of about 170 jobs.

Closed Plants

In May, New York-based Pfizer Inc., the world’s biggest drugmaker, said it would close eight manufacturing plants, including one in Rouses Point, New York and another in Pearl River, New York.

Budget shortfalls among municipal and state governments also have spurred job losses.

New York City, facing a $3.3 billion deficit in next year’s budget, will cut its workforce by more than 10,000 over the next year-and-a-half, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s budget office reported last month. More than 6,200 workers will be fired, and the remaining cuts, from a city that employs 300,000 people, will be accomplished by attrition, the mayor’s office said in a report. The mayor is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.

Seats Reapportioned

Congressional seats are reapportioned every decade after completion of the census, with each district to have roughly the same number of people. After the 2000 Census, each member was supposed to represent about 647,000 people, which will now increase to about 710,000 to reflect the nation’s growth.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican who rose to national prominence in a state where his party accounts for just one in five registered voters, said he anticipates a fight as congressional districts are redrawn.

Christie’s support helped Republican U.S. Representative-elect Jon Runyan defeat Democratic incumbent John Adler in the November midterm elections.

“It’s going to be intensely partisan because someone’s going to have to lose a seat,” Christie said. “Whenever someone’s ox is getting gored it becomes intensely personal.”

The reapportionment will also alter electoral vote calculations. A state’s Electoral College vote is the sum of its House seats, plus its two Senate seats. That could provide assistance to Republicans as they prepare to oppose a re-election bid by President Barack Obama.

South, West Gained

The U.S. population grew to 308,745,538 residents since the last census count in 2000. That’s up 9.7 percent, compared with 13 percent the previous decade, today’s figures showed.

The South and West gained at the Northeast’s expense in part because of the proliferation of technological advances such as air-conditioning that have boosted the attractiveness of warm-weather states.

“There was a time when people would think twice about moving to a state like Georgia from a state like New Jersey because the summers are so intolerable,” Baker said. “But now with virtually everything air-conditioned, including automobiles, the disincentive to move to a hot-weather state is largely removed.”

California surpassed New York to become the nation’s most populous state in the 1960s. Texas overtook New York in the 1990s. Florida, now 577,000 people behind New York, will likely surpass that state later this decade, based on the census data.

Data from the 2010 Census will affect the allocation of about $4 trillion in government funds during the next 10 years. The agency will release detailed demographics for individual states starting in February.

To contact the reporters on this story: Greg Giroux in Washington at; Timothy R. Homan in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz at

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