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Private sector jobs back to pre-recession levels, public sector jobs still lag

Source: EMSI: Public sector jobs in Ohio.
Source: EMSI: Public sector jobs in Ohio.

With little attention or fanfare, what once was thought an impossibility due to political gridlock in Washington as Republicans have challenged all President Obama's strategies to create jobs, it appears the nation is nearly back to its pre-recession level in private employment, a recovery of amazing proportions given the last recession the White House inherited was the longest and deepest since the Great Depression of the 1930s, with many states including Ohio still suffering.

Witht he addition of about 8 million jobs, the nation is nearly back to its pre-recession level in private employment. But public job losses still remain a drag on full recovery.
Calculated Risk

But that is indeed the situation, as there is currently about 129,000 thousand jobs below the pre-recession peak. With the release of the March employment report next Friday, private employment will probably be at an all time high, according to Bill McBride at Calculated Risk, a respected money and finance website that provided a stunning graph for the hard of understanding.

The big problem, however, is the long road to recovery from public jobs, which are still about 666,000 below the pre-recession peak due to all the government layoffs. Bill McBride at CR predicts that total employment will probably be at a new high sometime this summer.

"The public sector declined significantly since the onset of the Great Recession as most of those jobs have been at the state and local level," he said, adding that more recently, public job losses at the Federal level have not abated. He correctly diagnosis the situation as "a significant drag on overall employment."

And while some news sources continue to focus on the number of Americans still looking for full-time work, the good news about the economy is that 8.7 million private sector jobs, a favorite for Republicans who covet them more than public jobs, have been added since employment bottomed in February 2010 (8.0 million total jobs added including all the public sector layoffs).

Most recently, Ohio lost another 4,600 public sector jobs in February, ODJFS said in its monthly report. Showing the fuller picture, the following public sector job statistics supplied exclusively by Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. to CGE show the yearly decline of public jobs since the 2010 elections.

From 2010 to 2013, Ohio lost four percent of its public sector jobs or 4,601. Over the same period it lost five percent, or 26,756, of its public sector jobs. Together, the public sector has tumbled 31,357 over the tenure of the Kasich Administration, which has retained billions over two budget cycles in order to balance the state budget and pay for tax cuts, among other means.

At the end of Gov. John Kasich's first year, state and local government jobs were down 13,708, for 2012 that figure declined to minus-8,254 but rose again to minus-9,395, representing a four-percentage point swing.

EMSI turns labor market data into useful information that helps organizations understand the connection between economies, people, and work, according to its Website.

Kasich was in the news scoffing at the idea that billions in reductions in local funding from the state to cities for public service workers, including firefighters and police, was a problem. quote

In a recent Cincinnati Enquirer article Gov. Kasich, said local government cuts from his two budgets, the last one of which was the largest in state history, of "only 3 to 5 percent" is not a crisis. The first-term governor running for reelection this year went further, saying, "I’ve not heard of any places here where, my goodness, we couldn’t put a fire out. If I saw that, I’d be concerned," according to the CE.

Mark Sanders, President of the Ohio Association of Professional Fire Fighters responded, saying, "Not only have local government leaders been forced to deal with the Great Recession, but Gov. John Kasich’s tax grab has wreaked havoc with balancing local budgets. Many of those communities have been forced to lay off vital safety personnel." He added that while fires are being put out, Kasich is in denial if he thinks the additional cost in increased property damage and additional risk to citizens and those who serve our community isn't real?

"Scoff if you will at cuts to promised funding; but if, my goodness, your house catches fire, you would not want less than 100 percent of the funding for the community that keeps you safe," Sanders said.

Local elected officials from across the state will at the Statehouse to highlight the ongoing impact of the Gov. Kasich's and the General Assembly's failure to restore Local Government Funds as part of the Mid-Biennium Review Budget.

"We have a very simple message to deliver: Please stop raiding the coffers of local communities across Ohio," said Councilman PG Sittenfeld, representing Cincinnati. "This is a bi-partisan issue that is hurting red counties and blue counties, big cities and rural areas alike. The Governor and Legislature need to get their priorities back in line, like making sure local communities have enough cops and firefighters."

In related news, Ohio will receive $3.7M in Federal funds for short-time compensation layoff prevention program. The U.S. Department of Labor reported last week that Ohio will receive $3,714,908 to implement and promote the state's short-time compensation program, a layoff prevention program also known as "work-sharing."

The programs allow employers to reduce work hours for a group of employees as an alternative to layoffs during tough economic times, DOL wrote, calling a win-win program because employees keep their jobs—and benefits, such as employer-based retirement and health insurance—while employers maintain their skilled workforce and avoid having to hire and train new workers when business activity increases, as approach designed to ease the strain on local economies, which acutely feel the impact of layoffs.

DOL Secretary Tom Perez said, "I commend Ohio for taking advantage of these federal incentives, and I encourage all states to evaluate whether they can benefit from the available federal funds."

Ohio will allocate $1,238,303 to implement a new STC program, while the remaining $2,476,605 will go toward educating the public about the advantages of incorporating an STC program and increasing enrollment of employers into the program. This funding was made available through the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which gave the secretary of labor authority to award grants to states to implement or improve an STC program, as well as promote the program and enroll employers.

States with an STC program may also be eligible to receive reimbursement from the federal government for STC benefits paid.

The news article Private sector jobs back near pre-recession levels, public sector still lags appeared first on Columbus Government Examiner.

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