Jobs

States Cutting the Most Government Jobs

11. New Mexico
> One-yr. change in state govt. jobs: -2.91%
> One-yr. change in local govt. jobs: -1.69%
> Budget shortfall FY 2012: $450 million
> FY 2012 shortfall as a pct. of budget: 8.3%

From June 2011 to June 2012, only a few states lost more jobs than New Mexico, where the total number of workers declined by 1,700. This is at least partially due to cuts in public sector workers, as some 1,600 state government jobs, almost 3% of such positions, and 1,800 local government jobs were lost over the same year-over-year time period. Many of these jobs were cut as part of New Mexico’s strategy to eliminate a $450 million fiscal 2012 budget deficit, a strategy that also included benefit cuts, agency reorganizations, and reductions in local aid. For the fiscal year 2013, the CBPP projected that New Mexico would not face any budget shortfall.

12. Ohio
> One-yr. change in state govt. jobs: 6.54%
> One-yr. change in local govt. jobs: -0.98%
> Budget shortfall FY 2012: $3 billion
> FY 2012 shortfall as a pct. of budget: 10.8%

Although the National Governor’s Association reported that Ohio’s strategy to trim its budget deficit included planned layoffs, the number of state workers has actually risen considerably. As of June, Ohio added about 9,700 state government jobs in the past year — more than any other state. This has occurred even though the state has committed to privatizing certain operations, and reorganizing state agencies in the 2011-2013 two-year budget. However, many sacrifices were made at the local level. As of June, local governments, which employ over half of a million Ohioans according to the BLS, had cut over 5,000 positions in the previous year.

13. Oregon
> One-yr. change in state govt. jobs: -1.56%
> One-yr. change in local govt. jobs: -2.06%
> Budget shortfall FY 2012: $1.7 billion
> FY 2012 shortfall as a pct. of budget: 24%

As of June, Oregon had reduced its state government workforce by about 1,300 employees over the past year. The layoffs were part of the state’s strategy to eliminate a combined budget shortfall of $3.4 billion for the 2011-2013 period. Oregon also has planned to reduce state employee salaries, cut benefits and institute furloughs to reduce its budget deficit. Localities have also had to sacrifice, as local governments cut their workforces by around 4,000 from June 2011 to June 2012. Tough times aren’t limited to state workers; the total number of workers in the state increased by a mere 0.9% from June 2011 to June 2012.

14. South Dakota
> One-yr. change in state govt. jobs: 0.57%
> One-yr. change in local govt. jobs: -1.58%
> Budget shortfall FY 2012: $127 million
> FY 2012 shortfall as a pct. of budget: 11.0%

At $127 million, South Dakota had the second-smallest budget shortfall among all 41 states to run a budget deficit in fiscal 2012. Nonetheless, the state planned to address this shortfall through a combination of layoffs, reductions in aid to localities and restructuring state agencies. Despite these plans, South Dakota actually increased the number of state government workers by about 100 employees from June 2011 to June 2012. Far more job losses happened at the local level, however, as local governments shed roughly 800 employees, or more than 1.5% of the state’s local government workforce.In his 2012 State of the State address, Gov. Dennis Daugaard suggested that South Dakota could further cut costs by eliminating future opportunities for teacher tenure.

Also Read: States With The Least Full-time Work

15. Washington
> One-yr. change in state govt. jobs: -1.11%
> One-yr. change in local govt. jobs: -1.37%
> Budget shortfall FY 2012: $2.7 billion
> FY 2012 shortfall as a pct. of budget: 16.9%

Between June 2011 and 2012, Washington added roughly 54,100 jobs, growing the state’s total workforce 1.9%. Yet the government sector did not experience similar growth, as roughly 1,600 state government jobs and 4,500 local government positions were eliminated in the same time period. Facing a total budget shortfall of about $5.8 billion for the 2011-2013 two-year budget period, Washington not only chose to lay off workers, but also to reduce state employee benefits, as well as cut aid to localities. State employees in Washington have gotten used to sacrifice: in announcing her budget proposal for 2011-2013, Governor Chris Gregoire’s office noted that state employees have had no general wage increase since 2008.

Michael B. Sauter and Alexander E. M. Hess

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