The public sector lost another 13,000 jobs in December, bringing the post-recession job loss total for federal, state, and local governments to more than 600,000. Those job losses — many of which have hit teachers, firefighters, police officers, and other public safety officials — have had a devastating impact on the economic recovery. If public sector job creation had kept its pre-recession pace, the unemployment rate would be a full point lower.
Government job losses began to slow earlier this year, but in the last three months, the public sector has shed another 89,000 jobs. And as Demos’ David Callahan noted in a blog post today, that means the public sector has lost one job for every five private sector jobs created in that time:
But here’s a statistic that jumped out at me: 89,000 public sector workers lost their jobs in October, November, and December—with most of those losses, 66,000, occurring in October.
Large-scale layoffs of government workers continue across the United States. Such layoffs undermine local economies and stymie the recovery. For every five workers who were hired in the past three months, one was laid off by government.
Government job losses have come as a result of crunched budgets at the state and local levels, where a vast majority of the losses have occurred. They’ve been exacerbated by spending cuts at the federal level. Efforts to alleviate those losses through stimulus measures like the American Jobs Act, which would have provided aid to states and localities to rehire teachers and public safety officials, were repeatedly blocked by the GOP.
That has terrible consequences for the overall economic recovery. Fewer government workers means fewer workers overall, which means that less money is being spent throughout the economy. A study from the Economic Policy Institute, in fact, found that the shrinking public sector has cost the overall economy at least 750,000 private sector jobs.