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Tight Budgets Mean Fewer Jobs, Services

Washington Post via YellowBrix

July 28, 2010

WASHINGTON — Local government revenue has withered so drastically that U.S. cities and counties will have to cut hundreds of thousands of jobs in the coming months, leaving communities without basic services and raising jobless rates, according to a survey.

The survey, released Tuesday by three government associations, aims to press Congress on pending legislation that would give them $75 billion over two years to save jobs.

Local and state government employment accounts for more jobs in the United States than construction and manufacturing combined. The survey by the National League of Cities, National Association of Counties and U.S. Conference of Mayors also found that they are the primary employer in many communities.

Those surveyed, 214 cities with populations of more than 25,000 and 56 counties of more than 100,000 people, reported they will cut 8.6 percent of their full-time positions from 2009 through 2011.

“If applied to total local government employment nationwide, an 8.6 percent cut in the work force would mean that 481,000 local government workers were, or will be, laid off over the two-year period,” the report said.

Currently, the U.S. unemployment rate stands at 9.6 percent. In June, local governments had a net loss of 8,000 jobs, according to the U.S. Labor Department, and they have shed 18,000 jobs over the past three months.

Last week Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said state and local government budget woes are reducing the speed of the economic recovery and warned that governments will likely cut “several hundred thousand jobs.”

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