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Report: Public Sector Austerity Crushing Economies Locally and Nationally

Society & Culture  (tags: abuse, americans, corruption, culture, dishonesty, education, family, freedoms, government, politics, rights, safety, society )

- 2188 days ago -
If governments still employed the same percentage of the work force as they did in 2009, the unemployment rate would be a percentage point lower, according to an analysis by Moody's Analytics and cited by the New York Times today--->

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Kit B (276)
Wednesday June 20, 2012, 4:24 pm
Chart Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

If governments still employed the same percentage of the work force as they did in 2009, the unemployment rate would be a percentage point lower, according to an analysis by Moody’s Analytics and cited by the New York Times today in an article that describes a US economy unable to heal itself as public sector employment continues unabated.

Whereas the job picture remains bleak in both the private and public sector, it is the local government payrolls that have suffered under the austerity policies of state governments and a US Congress unwilling to offer federal assistance.

Pennsylvania, according the Times report, has shed 5,400 government jobs this year, and many school districts and social service agencies are contemplating more layoffs. “We have slipped to the middle of the pack in terms of job growth,” said Mark Price, a labor economist at the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center. “And that was driven mainly by the fact that we lost so many jobs in the public sector.”

And though the loss of public jobs such as teachers, town administrators, and fire fighters are having an enormous impact on the national economy, these lost employees also have a direct impact on the quality of life in towns and cities and is, in many cases, jeopardizing public safety.

* * *

The New York Times: Public Workers Face New Rash of Layoffs, Hurting Recovery

Companies have been slowly adding workers for more than two years. But pink slips are still going out in a crucial area: government.

in California, the governor is threatening to eliminate 15,000 state jobs. When school begins in Cleveland this fall, more than 500 teachers probably will be out of work. And in Trenton — which has already cut a third of its police force, hundreds of school district employees and at least 150 other public workers — the only way the city will forestall the loss of 60 more firefighters is if a federal grant comes through.

Government payrolls grew in the early part of the recovery, largely because of federal stimulus measures. But since its post recession peak in April 2009 (not counting temporary Census hiring), the public sector has shrunk by 657,000 jobs. The losses appeared to be tapering off earlier this year, but have accelerated for the last three months, creating the single biggest drag on the recovery in many areas. [...]

... those with disappearing jobs say that the effects are not just economic — they mean longer response times to fires, larger class sizes, and in some cases lawsuits when short-staffed agencies are unable to provide the required services.

After 32 firefighters were laid off in Muncie, Ind., the area that could be reached within eight minutes was cut by half, said Mike Whited, the president of the firefighters union. A federal grant restored 25 workers, but the city does not know if it will be renewed.

Mr. Whited chafed at portrayals of public workers as overpaid or greedy, saying his union and others had made concessions, including paying more for their health insurance and forfeiting raises. “I think a lot of people don’t understand what we do,” he said. “They’re looking for somebody to blame, and I think they’re being led the wrong way.”

Businesses can also be hindered by government cuts. They not only lose prospective middle-class customers but may face long waits for services. Roland Pott, a real estate broker and developer in Trenton, said that fewer city inspectors adds to construction delays. And the shortage of police officers means he must assuage the safety concerns of prospective tenants. “It makes it harder to lease a space or market a space because people are choosing between Trenton or another area,” he said.

Even if the overall economy improves, local governments are likely to lag behind. Property tax receipts, which are projected to fall slightly in 2012, “will be weak through at least fiscal 2014,” wrote Daniel White, an economist at Moody’s Analytics, in a report this month. “As a result, local government fiscal conditions will remain under pressure.”

Jobs in education have accounted for more than half the losses in local governments. Teachers and other school employees continue to receive layoff notices in California, Colorado, Nevada and Ohio, among others. In Los Angeles, about 11,700 teachers and others were notified in the spring. On Saturday, the teachers union ratified an agreement to save more than 4,000 jobs by taking furlough days.

To close a $64 million budget gap, the district in Clark County, Nevada, which encompasses Las Vegas, sent layoff notices to 400 teachers this month and will not fill 600 openings.

In Cleveland, the school district cited a $66 million budget deficit when announcing the layoff of more than 500 teachers this spring. David Quolke, president of the Cleveland Teachers Union, said it followed two years of cutbacks and $25 million in concessions from the union. He said that some classes would have more than 40 children.

Kimili Gulley, 32, has been teaching middle and high school math for nine years and expected her tenure to provide protection. But this month, she too is out of work. “So much emphasis is put on educating kids,” she said, “and yet funding is getting cut when it comes to educating kids. So it’s kind of hypocritical.”

- Common Dreams staff | Common Dreams |

Aimee A (177)
Wednesday June 20, 2012, 5:37 pm
Thanks for posting!

Janelle Wong (71)
Thursday June 21, 2012, 10:24 am
The total number of public-sector jobs lost so far under Obama rose to 625,000. Under Bush, 1.7 million such jobs were added in 2001-08!

Janelle Wong (71)
Thursday June 21, 2012, 10:42 am
The total number of public-sector jobs lost so far under Obama rose to 625,000. Under Bush, 1.7 million such jobs were added in 2001-08!

Yvonne White (229)
Friday June 22, 2012, 2:21 pm
"If governments still employed the same percentage of the work force as they did in 2009, the unemployment rate would be a percentage point lower, according to an analysis by Moody's Analytics and cited by the New York Times today"..Well duh!!!! We can't be havin' that! How can we justify screwing Everybody if Employment rates go UP??? How can we justify screwing with Social Security if too many people feel too secure?????

Sheryl G (360)
Friday June 22, 2012, 2:23 pm
But hey, the rich save some tax monies. The children will have to increase per classroom, the fire dept will take longer to get to your home, and the police may get to your call before the person shoots you and claims it was in self defense. But don't worry, tax monies were saved, so be grateful when the kids can't spell, the house is a pile of ash, and you are pushing up you no longer have to pay any tax monies.

Oh, I suppose the rich don't have to worry on those things do they with their private schools, private fire dept., and gated communities and private body guards. Only we get to enjoy the new lack of services. But hey, the rich saved some tax dollars.

And you are correct Charles....if people think the next election is going to make things better for them then I guess they are still hanging onto hope. We got TPPA right around the corner, so that should get rid of the other 2/3rds of the middle class as I've read that 1/3 of the middle class is now gone, sunk into the pit of poverty.

Roseann d (178)
Friday June 22, 2012, 4:58 pm
It might be austerity for us, but it's big profits for corporations through privatization...Austerity for us because they are robbing us blind to rake in bigger and bigger profits for corporations. Meanwhile expect to pay more for much less...lousy service, shoddy workmanship, and get ready to be nickled and dimed to death.

Kit B (276)
Friday June 22, 2012, 5:15 pm

Hope? The only real hope is by those of us who can see through the smog of the heavy BS all around and speak to the truth. Between the religious politics of the right and the near hysteria of the left, those who can think for themselves must do so. There is no answer in austerity, how much history does one need to draw factual conclusions? Things are out of balance, this country lacks cohesion, and that will begin us on a path to repairing the damage.

JL A (281)
Saturday June 23, 2012, 7:27 am
Taking money out of the economy exponentially slows the US, wages of jobs is spent and respent 5-6 times so cutting public sector jobs slows the economy and hinders private sector jobs creation (often 3 jobs lost or not created in the private sector for every public sector job lost)........

Mary Donnelly (47)
Saturday June 23, 2012, 6:16 pm
Thanks Kit.

Antonia Windham (6)
Sunday June 24, 2012, 7:20 am
If any given public sector worker's really needed, the taxpayers (all of us) have to pay for his salary. If he's not really needed, then the job should be abolished. That simple. Make-work isn't work, it's enforced charity. But in either case we've not the resources.

I've the belief it's all academic. Since the Fall of the Republic of the United States and Western civilization in general has already occurred and we're just experiencing the death throes (which, like in Rome, can go on for a lengthy period of time). What'll come next (and there's always a next since life always goes on for people, even when political systems crumble), I've no desire to experience.

Pleasant dreams, world.

Kerrie G (116)
Monday June 25, 2012, 8:01 am
Noted, thanks.

Carmen S (611)
Tuesday June 26, 2012, 1:28 pm
thanks Kit, something really needs to be done about this
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