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Public Employment Job Losses Continue to Slow the Recovery

July’s employment report included more bad news from states and localities:  job losses are continuing.  Since August 2008, state and local governments have slashed 611,000 positions, and the cuts have been getting worse — 340,000 of those jobs were lost in the last 12 months.  July was the ninth consecutive month, and the 29th out of the last 35, in which total state and local employment shrank.

The news comes on top of many states’ recent enactment of deep spending cuts for the new fiscal year that will lead to even more job losses for public employees, even as the recession and its aftermath continue to place increased pressure on public services.  Economic recovery and quality of life will both suffer as a result.

The job cuts have been widespread.  Since state and local employment peaked in August 2008, payrolls have shrunk by 611,000 jobs:

  • Local school districts have cut 229,000 positions.
  • Cities, counties, and other local governments have cut 237,000 positions.
  • State governments have cut 145,000 positions.