To add to my post this morning, one reason why it’s so urgent for the House to act quickly on state fiscal assistance is to stem the loss of public-sector jobs. In July alone, 48,000 state and local workers lost their jobs, according to Friday’s Labor Department report, including 30,000 men and women in the education field. Some 316,000 public-sector jobs have disappeared over the past two years (see graph).
More crowded classrooms and fewer learning opportunities aren’t just bad news for our nation’s schoolchildren. Job losses of this magnitude also spell trouble for the economy. Not only are they pretty much canceling out the meager gains in private-sector employment, but — just as in the private sector — when teachers or other public-sector workers lose their jobs, they spend less. That hurts local businesses and can set in motion a wave of job losses that further damages the prospects for recovery.
As our economist, Chad Stone, has explained, the fiscal assistance measures before the House are temporary, well-targeted, and effective at preserving and creating jobs. The House bill won’t add to the deficit, and it will put people back to work.
Update: Yesterday, members of the House of Representatives did the right thing and voted to extend badly needed education and health care assistance for states from last year’s Recovery Act, something my colleagues and I have been calling for over the past several months. President Obama signed the bill into law yesterday.”