24/7 Wall St.: It is easy to believe that every city, county and state government in the country is deeply in debt and in need of higher taxes and budget cuts. This even extends to the federal government, which is wrestling with austerity measures that are so great that they threaten Medicare and military spending. New taxes are under consideration to help close the US deficit and slow the rise of America’s national debt.
However, not every state or local government in the US has spent the period since the start of the recession lowering its expenses and worker base. Some have been on the rise.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed the Brookings Institution’s MetroMonitor Report for 1st Quarter 2011 to identify the regions which have added the most government workers since hitting their recession lows. 24/7 looked at the health of local governments because they are a good proxy for the economic vitality of an area. In addition to government employment, we considered overall unemployment according to the Brookings’ report, which looks at the 100 largest metropolitan areas in America. We also considered how much overall employment improved from the worst quarter during the recession compared with the first quarter of 2011. This allowed us to compare the economic and employment cycle of each city with employment trends in the local governments. In addition to the MetroMonitor, data from Bureau of Labor Statistics was also used.
24/7’s review of the cities which have added the most government workers shows two things. The first is that in the very few municipalities that did relatively well during the recession, local government was able to maintain and often increase its workforce. There were some notable exceptions, the most obvious of which was New Orleans. The percent increase in public employees was because of Hurricane Katrina. The city lost such a large part of its population that the local government could not afford to maintain its employment base. New Orleans still is a mess financially and needs to close a his leaves an estimated $28.6 million deficit for 2010. “Because we passed a balanced, responsible budget for 2011, we have some flexibility,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu in a press release. “We do not anticipate furloughs or mass layoffs.”
These are the Cities Where Government Employment Is On The Rise.
Read at 24/7 Wall St.