Friday, October 08, 2010

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Local Governments Pulling the Plug on Job Growth
David Leonhart looks at the new job growth numbers - which show a flat 9.6% unemployment rate and an ominous 95,000 jobs lost in September, despite 64,000 jobs being added in the private sector. The culprit? Local governments, which are shedding jobs faster than any time since 1982.
They cut 76,000 jobs last month and over the last three months have cut 143,000 jobs, many in education... That’s 1 percent of total local-government employment across the country...

The federal government has been cutting jobs too in recent months — partly because of the end of Census taking — and state government governments have made small cuts in employment.
Combined, these government layoffs have more than outweighed a modestly improving situation — or at least a stabilizing one — in the private sector. In the last three months, the private sector has added an average of 91,000 jobs a month. That’s down from of an average of 150,000 early this year, but up from about 75,000 in the middle of this year.
States and local governments think they are being responsible by cutting back to balance budgets in the face of lower tax receipts, but they're contributing mightily to the problem (an anti-stimulus, as Ezra Klein says) by helping to drive up unemployment numbers at a time the economy can least afford it.

Most annoying of all, Republicans who are crowing about this flat job growth are counting on some serious amnesia in the country. This year, the private sector has added more jobs (863,000) than in any year during the Bush Administration.

Is it enough to put the unemployed back to work and account for population growth? No. But enough to stop the bleeding. American voters don't like to play the blame game I know, when it requires looking back more than a year or so, but would do well to remember that Republican control is what caused the bleeding.

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