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Archive for Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Report shows losses in government jobs choking economic recovery

October 25, 2011

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— Conservative Republicans have long clamored for government downsizing. They’re starting to get it — by default.

Crippled by plunging tax revenues, state and local governments have shed over a half million jobs since the recession began in December 2007. And, after adding jobs early in the downturn, the federal government is now cutting them as well.

States cut 49,000 jobs over the past year and localities 210,000, according to an analysis of Labor Department statistics. There are 30,000 fewer federal workers now than a year ago — including 5,300 Postal Service jobs canceled last month.

By contrast, private-sector jobs have increased by 1.6 million over the past 12 months. But the state, local and federal job losses have become a drag on efforts to nudge the nation’s unemployment rate down from its painfully high 9.1 percent.

The economy has been expanding, at least modestly, since the middle of 2009. And state and local governments are usually engines of job growth during recoveries. But not now, said economist Heidi Shierholz of the labor-aligned Economic Policy Institute.

“The public sector didn’t start to lose jobs right away. But then it did as the budget crunch really hit. State governments are not allowed to run deficits. So the private sector is expanding while the public sector is shedding jobs — to the tune of 35,000 jobs a month,” she said.

President Barack Obama sought to ease the crunch by including $35 billion to prevent layoffs of police, firefighters and teachers in his $447 billion jobs package. But that big bill hit a GOP wall in Congress.

Efforts to pass what Obama called “bite-sized pieces” of the big bill have stalled, too. Republicans don’t want to swallow them, regardless the serving size. Senate Republicans blocked the $35 billion installment late last week when Democratic leaders called it up as stand-alone legislation.

The dynamic is already reverberating through the gathering presidential campaign cycle, with Republicans making an issue out what they depict as Obama’s inability to turn the economy around. This has been driven home in every one of the frequent Republican presidential debates, and is certain to become even more intense as the GOP field narrows. The weak economy is a main factor in Obama’s current approval ratings, the lowest of his presidency.

No sitting president since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936 and 1940 has been elected with the unemployment rate as high as it stands today — hovering near or above 9 percent for more than two years. In 1936, the rate was 17 percent and in 1940, 15 percent, but then it was on a downward trend from over 24 percent earlier in the Great Depression.

Ronald Reagan’s durable 1980 campaign slogan that government “is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem” is a cherished GOP refrain. Most recently, it’s been echoed in tea party calls for smaller government.

Comments

FalseHopeNoChange 2 years, 5 months ago

Government services are an expensive 'luxury'.

Since the babyboomers are about through with spending and their powerhouse economy of the last 40 years is coming to an end. Going down the tubes so to speak. Luxuries need to be slashed.

It's not fair to spend on luxuries when there are so many climate saving solar companies that need money.

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rockchalk1977 2 years, 5 months ago

UNIONS brought to the work force... 2 union lobbyists teach for a day, qualify for millions in pension benefits.

http://www.danliljenquist.com/pension-reform/2-union-lobbyists-teach-for-a-day-qualify-for-millions-in-pension-benefits

Corporate America did not offer any of that up.

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Agnostick 2 years, 5 months ago

Would it be fair to say that, in the past 30-40 years, we've shifted from a more diversified economy, to one that is overwhelmingly service-based? If that's true, then why would this be a surprise? As a general rule, doesn't government--regardless of size--provide services, above all else? I suppose it could be argued that government spending supports some manufacturing, via government contracts for weapons, uniforms, bridges, etc. but the factories have to be in place before the government awards the contract, don't they?

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pace 2 years, 5 months ago

If Kochsas has done anything for jobs or working families, just let the voters know. All I see is a refinement and expansion of Bush style tax cuts to the wealthiest. How is that workng? We would have the money to pay for state services and infrastructure upkeep if it wasn't for the tax cuts to the rich. The tax cuts and loopholes aren't creating jobs, they just serve the rich.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 5 months ago

UNIONS brought to the work force: 1. Job protection from discrimination for whatever reasons 2. Good wages 3. 40 hour work week 4. Vacation with pay 5. Pay increases 6. Medical Insurance Coverage

Corporate America did not offer any of that up.

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Flap Doodle 2 years, 5 months ago

If the current regime can't protect the union jobs of government workers, they'll be in big trouble come the 2012 election.

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TongiJayhawk 2 years, 5 months ago

The question is when the economy recovers (it will) and revenues increase . Will they go back on a hiring binge? What will be done with the revenues?

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yourworstnightmare 2 years, 5 months ago

Great article.

Apparently facts and logical are a "liberal viewpoint".

Populism burns brightly, but never for very long. Eventually the grown-ups in the room will prevail.

Mitt Romney is the only grown-up in the GOP cast (caste?) of characters.

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BornAgainAmerican 2 years, 5 months ago

How does this opinion piece qualify as news? Definitely a liberal view point. Is this what we have to look forward to in the next year for news? the only statement attributed to the economist was:

"The public sector didn’t start to lose jobs right away. But then it did as the budget crunch really hit. State governments are not allowed to run deficits. So the private sector is expanding while the public sector is shedding jobs — to the tune of 35,000 jobs a month,"

The rest is all the author's obvious liberal interprestation of the job numbers. He also needs to check his math. The numbers listed here don't even add up to 300,000. So much for his claim of over half a million government jobs lost. Sheeesh!

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 5 months ago

There's only one way for the economy to recover, and that's to increase employment. Laying off government workers is exactly the wrong thing to do.

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jaywalker 2 years, 5 months ago

It's a shame that cutbacks hurt the unemployment rate and I wish no one had to lose their job, but seems to me such trimming off of state and federal roles is a necessary evil. Teachers, police, and fireman need be spared whenever possible, but get out the red pen out otherwise.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 5 months ago

"The dynamic is already reverberating through the gathering presidential campaign cycle, with Republicans making an issue out what they depict as Obama’s inability to turn the economy around. "

And they'll continue to do everything they can to make sure the economy is worse a year from now than it is today.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 5 months ago

Is city hall listening?

We know Sam Brownback is part of the problem.

Come on City Hall don't be Brownback thinkers ...... those that sponsor wreckanomics. Put people back to work instead of holding millions upon millions of our tax dollars in "reserve accounts".

Thank You

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Kookamooka 2 years, 5 months ago

Funny. The guy who wrote this just goes by his first name.

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