For state workers, revenue decreases mean job cuts
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The economy added 1.4 million jobs in August according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate also fell below 10% for the first time since the pandemic took hold, but job growth has slowed since June, and the job gains are partly due to the temporary hiring of 238,000 people working on the 2020 census.
State and local government workers across the country are losing their jobs as states struggle to bring in revenue during the pandemic. In Texas, overall revenue collections are down more than 3%. And for many Texans, that could mean more job cuts.
Texas leaders have already asked some departments to trim their budgets.
“And that is generally public education, higher education,” said Cal Jillson, professor of political science at SMU in Dallas. He said unlike the federal government, which can run extensive deficits, states are required to balance their budgets.
“So what that means is when your revenues go down, you have to cut almost immediately, and the result of that is a loss of jobs,” Jillson said.
Nationwide, more than a million state and local workers have been furloughed or laid off, according to Michael Leachman at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
“And there are going to be more if the federal government doesn’t step up to the plate and provide substantial fiscal aid,” he said.
And as in Texas, he said those most vulnerable to job cuts nationwide include teachers and health care workers.
COVID-19 Economy FAQs
What does the unemployment picture look like?
It depends on where you live. The national unemployment rate has fallen from nearly 15% in April down to 8.4% percent last month. That number, however, masks some big differences in how states are recovering from the huge job losses resulting from the pandemic. Nevada, Hawaii, California and New York have unemployment rates ranging from 11% to more than 13%. Unemployment rates in Idaho, Nebraska, South Dakota and Vermont have now fallen below 5%.
Will it work to fine people who refuse to wear a mask?
Travelers in the New York City transit system are subject to $50 fines for not wearing masks. It’s one of many jurisdictions imposing financial penalties: It’s $220 in Singapore, $130 in the United Kingdom and a whopping $400 in Glendale, California. And losses loom larger than gains, behavioral scientists say. So that principle suggests that for policymakers trying to nudge people’s public behavior, it may be better to take away than to give.
How are restaurants recovering?
Nearly 100,000 restaurants are closed either permanently or for the long term — nearly 1 in 6, according to a new survey by the National Restaurant Association. Almost 4.5 million jobs still haven’t come back. Some restaurants have been able to get by on innovation, focusing on delivery, selling meal or cocktail kits, dining outside — though that option that will disappear in northern states as temperatures fall. But however you slice it, one analyst said, the United States will end the year with fewer restaurants than it began with. And it’s the larger chains that are more likely to survive.
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