October Jobs Data – government shrinks and other economic data

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The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics has issued its job report for the month of October. It reports that the private sector added jobs, while government jobs declined. Private sector jobs increased by an estimated 80,000 jobs, while government jobs declined by an estimated 24,000 jobs.

The report called the national unemployment rate of 9% at the end of the month to be “little changed”. It stated that the loss of government jobs statistic was mostly at the state level and mostly non-educational type jobs.

Perhaps reflecting the downward trend in government jobs and budgets, there seems to be increasing reports of government employee unions agreeing to concessions in order to avert or prevent layoffs. The latest is that a New York state employees union of 52,000 members just voted for give-backs that are reported to save the State $ 450 million. The ratification will prevent the layoff of 3500 state employees. Also, the Sacramento Bee reported that the employees of California’s Sutter County have agreed to give up negotiated pay increases and reduce the pensions for both safety and non-safety employees in order to produce much needed savings for the county.

And for those who think that public sector pensions are at the core of what is causing the budget woes at the State and local levels, a report this week that the 2010 census found that state and local government revenues were down 22% should be an eye opener. Most any organization that has experienced a 22% drop in revenue is going to have to re-examine what it is doing and identify what it can no longer afford, including pension packages.

In another indicator that the private sector seems to be doing a bit better, the Register Business Section reported on November 3 that there is a trend in the private sector to restore the employer 401K match, something that had frequently been cut or eliminated since the start of the current recession.

So, as usual, the economic news of the day is a mixed bag. If you look at the big picture, there is job growth. If you zero in on government there is some job shrinkage with employee pay and benefits being cut in various state and local government entities. Of course, the world economy seems to be hanging by a thread and poised to go over a cliff if the debt crisis of Greece is not solved. So, even though one might characterize the economic news of October as overall positive no one should get too confident that the worst is behind us.


About Over But Not Out

A retired Orange County employee, and moderate Republican. The editor seriously does not know OBNO's identity as did not the former editor, but his point of view is obviously interesting and valued.