A job seeker fills out an application during a job fair in Chicago, April 22, 2015. SOURCE: AP/M. Spencer Green
Washington, D.C. —(ENEWSPF)–June 5, 2015. Center for American Progress Economist Michael Madowitz released the following statement on today’s employment situation figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
After a month of tepid data about the U.S. economy, the jobs picture remains positive, according to today’s jobs report. Employment increased by a total of 280,000 jobs and wages grew at an annual rate of 2.3 percent. While public sector employment did increase over the last month, historically weak public sector employment remains a drag on the economy. Washington’s self-imposed sequester, combined with aggressive austerity at the state and local levels has led to fewer teachers in schools, poorly maintained infrastructure, and higher tuition at public universities. Closing these investment deficits would also provide reliable, good-paying, middle-class jobs.
Between June 2009 and May 2015, the private sector added 11.4 million jobs—which, to be sure, is reason for cheer—but our economy lost some 559,000 state and local government jobs in this period—and all of those cuts happened after the recession ended. Budget cuts have reduced the number of teachers, bus drivers, firefighters, and police officers, among others. This news is particularly troubling for communities of color, given that African Americans are overrepresented in public sector jobs.
Today, at this stage in the recovery from the Great Recession, it’s clear that the public sector isn’t keeping up with the needs of our growing population—and the shortfall of public employees not only shows this deficit, but it slows the recovery as well. Rather than continue down the damaging path of sequestration, which reduces the federal government’s ability to respond to the struggling economy, Congress should be doing more to invest in the economy and support state and local government functions that are essential to the lives of everyday Americans.
Click here to see CAP’s new, original graph on public sector jobs and the recovery, based on this morning’s jobs report.
Para verlo en español clique aquí
Related resource: The State of the U.S. Labor Market: Pre-June 2015 Jobs Release by Jackie Odum, Danielle Corley, and Michael Madowitz