Free Markets, Free People

Coming government layoffs

Apparently the only jobs the massive "stimulus" may have saved, at least temporarily, were government jobs. Now, even those are in jeopardy as state and local governments are forced to deal with the reality of their fiscal situation:

Up to 400,000 workers could lose jobs in the next year as states, counties and cities grapple with lower revenue and less federal funding, says Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s


Layoffs by state and local governments moderated in June, with 10,000 jobs trimmed. That was down from 85,000 job losses the first five months of the year and about 190,000 since June 2009. But the pain is likely to worsen.

States face a cumulative $140 billion budget gap in fiscal 2011, which began July 1 for most, says the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

While general-fund tax revenue is projected to rise 3.7% as the economy rebounds in the coming year, it still will be 8%, or $53 billion, below fiscal 2008 levels, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers.

And that means that states will not be able to afford some of the services or staff they presently employ.  And that, of course, means layoffs and even more workers seeking jobs.  While to this point, many state and  localities have been able to avoid layoffs by offering furloughs, that option is no longer viable for most.

And economic growth isn’t looking all that hot either.  Wells Fargo economist Mark Vitner is amending his third quarter economic growth estimate from 1.9% to 1.5%.

If this is a recovery, I’d hate to see a depression.



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21 Responses to Coming government layoffs

  • Yet we’re looking to grow federal workers.
    Not only is it time to trim the rolls, but time to trim the pensions and medical.  What government employee receive in compensation no longer reflects the reality of the people paying their wage.

  • Nah, they’ll just shuttle them over to MASA and employ them there.

  • I’ve been expecting this for a while, and wondering about a side issue. Many of these people have spent an entire career as paper-pushing bureaucrats. Outside stupid “compliance” jobs in the private sector, what role can they fill? What value can they add? They are tuned to delay, obfuscate, spin out reams of meaningless words, and do nothing of any importance. I don’t see where they can fit in the private sector.

    I remember back to one of my first consulting jobs. I was still in graduate school, and it was a side gig creating software for TVA. It took me five months of inexplicable actions on the part of the TVA not-workers (I can’t call them “workers” because they didn’t do any work) before I finally got it. They didn’t want the project I was working on to be finished. That just meant they would need another justification for how they spent their days.

    Such people have no place in any company trying to make money. So where do they go? Is this going to be a long term drag on the unemployment numbers?

    • Hopefully they end up homeless and kill themselves.  Then we don’t have to pay any pensions.
      No, I am not really that cynical and angry, but close, real close.

    • They are simply responding to the incentives their job presents. Once they move to the private sector, they will adjust quickly to working for results or they will end up unemployed. For some, it will be a hard transition, but for others it will be liberating – my father was a government employee and he hated it…not being able to “do anything”, no sense of accomplishment, not being able to fire incompetents, etc.
      I wonder if we should have term limits for government service? You can work for 10 years total in a government job. I wonder if that would shake stuff up.

  • You can imagine a depression easily. First, take our current situation exactly how it is now. Next, pretend we had a Republican president instead of a Democrat. Tada, it’s a depression! (According to the media, at least.)

    • AMEN!

    • Yeah. 1.5% “growth” with the spin machine in full spin mode, with a compliant media who realizes their only hope of survival is to transform themselves into the propaganda arm of the government.
      What are the odds that “full spin power” is worth more than 1.5% and we’re actually still contracting by any reasonable standard? I in all seriousness won’t put it at 100%, but certainly more than 25%.

    • Yep. I had Dem acquaintances who said we were in a depression from 2000-2008. I wonder what they think it is now?

  • I’m sorry to see anybody lose his job.  However, I fail to see why government workers should be any more immune from layoffs / termination than the rest of us.

    I wonder, though, just what government employees will get the chop.  If our political masters run true to form, the first to go will be teachers, police officers, firefighters, and prison guards.  This serves two purposes:

    1.  It sends a big “Screw you!” to the taxpayers: “Well, you greedy b*stards wouldn’t part with enough of your pay like we (ahem) suggested, so we’re going to deny you the services that you actually want and use most.”

    2.  It saves (at least, for a while) the jobs of the overpaid, underworked managers and senior bureaucrats.  The city of Townsville can do without 10% of its police force, but there’s just NO WAY it can afford to lose an acting deputy assistant director of administrative affairs.

    I wonder what our own governor, the wonderful Bev Purdue, will do with the huge staff she hired and new office she opened directly after being elected?  My guess is her attitude is that it’s better that a thousand NC teachers lose their jobs than she lose a single staffer.  Why, who will get lattes and bagels for the morning staff meeting if she has to let Jerry go???  The business of the state would grind to a halt!

    • 3. It induces panic…some of it well-founded…in the public, as it sees essential (i.e., the reason we organize civic entities in the first place) services being lost.  It is the most cynical thing I can imagine, and I’ve been seeing it for about 4 decades.

  • And don’t forget those Hundreds of thousands of Census workers, whose hiring has propped up the Unemployment statistics over the last couple of months will hit the tills by the end of the summer causing an even more drastic drop.

    Hey Erb, tell us all how this is Bush’s fault, Iraq is a quagmire, and the US is doomed one more time.  I need a good laugh.

    • Reality isn’t a force in Scott’s life.

      Likewise, there are still people who blame Herbert Hoover for the Great Depression, as if FDR had no hand it ‘lo those seven years before WWII began.

  • “I’m sorry to see anybody lose his job.  However, I fail to see why government workers should be any more immune from layoffs / termination than the rest of us.”

    Because these people are dues paying members of SEIU!  And Obama can’t send out his Union goons if they are all unemployed!?!?

    • “send out his Union goons” – That will be their employment…..they’ll need to get rid of those purple shirts though.  Get themselves some nice garrison caps, brown shirts and black ties….maybe some shorts.
      Gonna need that kinda support before long, I think the proles are starting to get wee wee’d up.

  • I wouldn’t spend the next dime on government workers. And by government workers I don’t mean our warriors in the military (or anyone who tends to their wounds), though I wouldn’t mind a sharp reduction in Pentagon bureaucrats.

    As for more for police and firefighters: it’s cheaper to get a gun and a couple of good fire extinguishers. In fact, I’m gonna buy another fire extinguisher today, I promise. Also, more guns mean that the unorganized militia is “well-regulated” and ready for more contingencies, like the armed robberies and home invasions that are likely to result from this wonderful economy.

    As for teachers: go here, to The Khan Academy, and get all the free basic lessons the kids are gonna need, other than that they need to behave themselves. Homeschool and by that action tie off the arteries of that disgusting public school monsterlith. And don’t call public schooling “socialization;” it is institutionalization, plain and simple, short and long. Thirteen years in those penal colonies and it’s no wonder half the kids in the country can’t focus a thought.

  • Layoff ? Not if Sheila Jackson Lee has anything to say …

    … an expenditure found on Page 14 of the Bill that will strip Texas’ State Sovereignty, as protected by the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. Page 14 gives the Federal Government Control over the money spent on education in Texas, stipulating that Texas must spend, in the future, no less than the highly stimulus-inflated dollar figure to be spent in 2011. The result to Texans? A substantial increase of taxes and extreme economic hardship for the State.

  • I think it would be wiser to offer pay cuts and benefit cuts as an option to the unions…push them back down to below private sector.  Then the union can accept that or accept lay-offs. (They always choose lay-offs, by the way) But it would be a better long term move to get the salaries and benefits down rather than cutting head count.

    • They always choose lay-offs, by the way

      I thought it was the other way around .. they maximize the number of union members thus maximizing union dues

  • You only ignore the laws of economics or gravity for just long enough to get into real trouble.