Thousands of public employees laid off in 2010

WASHINGTON Tue Aug 30, 2011 2:11pm EDT

A man carrying a stack of job listings listens to a discussion at the One Stop employment center in San Francisco, California, August 12, 2009. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

A man carrying a stack of job listings listens to a discussion at the One Stop employment center in San Francisco, California, August 12, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Robert Galbraith

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Local and state governments axed more than 200,000 jobs in 2010, according to U.S. Census data released on Tuesday that showed the growing threat of public employee layoffs to the economic recovery.

According to the Census, local and state governments had 203,321 fewer full-time equivalent employees in 2010 than in 2009 and 27,567 fewer part-time employees.

Most local governments cut full-time jobs in 2010, with the biggest decline in Rhode Island, where the workforce shrank 7.7 percent. Those in North Dakota, one of few states to go through the 2007-09 recession unscathed, added jobs in 2010, with its full-time workforce growing 7.5 percent in 2010.

It was the second year local governments lost part-time employees, with cities, counties and authorities in California shedding the most, 47,620.

The job losses have continued this year. John Lonski, chief economist for Moody's Capital Markets Research told Reuters this month that "we are looking at the worst contraction of state and local government employment since 1981."

Analysts polled by Reuters expect a report on Friday to show governments dropped another 30,000 jobs in August, marking the ninth consecutive month of contraction.

Public employees outnumber those in manufacturing, health and other areas typically considered engines of the economy. Local government provides the bulk of those jobs. In 2010, local governments had 12.2 million full-time equivalent employees, while state governments had 4.4 million.

The housing bust, financial crisis and recession devastated state and local tax revenues. For more than three years, states, cities and counties have cut spending, hiked taxes, borrowed and turned to the federal government for help in keeping their budgets balanced.

Texas has weathered the economic maelstrom better than many states. Its governor, Rick Perry, is extolling its employment health as he runs for president. In a recent editorial, he touted Texas as home to nearly 40 percent of the net new jobs created in the country since June 2009.

Census data showed Texas also boosted employment. The Lone Star state had the biggest percentage increase in state workers, 5.9 percent, from 2009 to 2010. That represented a gain of 17,800 full-time jobs.

Local governments in Texas also added the most part-time jobs of all cities, counties and towns, 24,731.

"Most state governments saw small decreases in full-time or full-time equivalent employment between 2009 and 2010," the Census said.

Rhode Island, Idaho and Connecticut state governments had the largest declines, each losing 5 percent of their workforces.

The tiny state of Rhode Island has endured pension funding problems and other budget headaches. Earlier this month its city of Central Falls filed for bankruptcy. Now the New England state is recovering from Hurricane Irene.

Most state governments increased their part-time workforces, especially Wisconsin, which picked up 5,063 jobs. Florida shed the most part-time positions, 3,555, or 7.5 percent of the jobs.

(Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Andrew Hay)

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Comments (2)
DrJJJJ wrote:
We’re are just getting strarted with the downsizing of public employees!It’s called rationing of deficit dollars for years to come-make the mental adjustment, do the math, it’s the new normal! Won’t really matter who’s in office/ power either-we’re broke! Government (Fed,state & local) now account for 40% of US GDP-miles from being sustainable and doesn’t include the $10s of Triillions of unfunded entitlements for 80 million boomers lining up (1/4 of US)! You can raise taxes until the economy stops and it’ll hardly make a dent! Blame anyone you choose, dream on regarding solutions-we don’t have the money! Prepare for deflation for a generation ala Japanese style and government will be downsized dramatically for years-bank on it! A vision without a way to pay for it is dangerous now and honesty is the best policy! Perhpas we come out the other end a better country? Also, I believe you’ll see non essential gov working 4 day (32hr) work weeks strating next year-preserves jobs & it’s the green thing to do! Poor morals are behind most of our problems FYI-think about it!

Aug 30, 2011 2:27pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
TricksTen wrote:
You are Right On DrJJJJ
The Government employees are going to keep on dropping.
Its about time. What a huge waste and drain its been on
the Private Sector.

Aug 31, 2011 6:56am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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