While the most recent federal jobs report pointed toward a labor market that might slowly be rebounding from the COVID-19 pandemic, one segment of the labor market was notably absent from that bounce, and it’s one that impacts Americans most directly.
Local governments shed nearly 1.3 million jobs in April and May, according to an analysis by the National Association of Counties. The bulk of those losses, 310,000 positions, came from the education sector, according to the report.
But, “another 177,000 jobs were non-education jobs such as healthcare practitioners, social workers, law enforcement officers, maintenance crews and construction workers,” the report found, as it tallied a loss of 523,000 non-education jobs since the nation went into lockdown in March.
“Individuals in these jobs are directly responsible for providing essential services and resources to counties, many of which are amid the ongoing public health crisis, subsequent economic hardship and civil unrest,” the analysis concluded.
These losses come as local and county governments, like other sectors of the economy, have seen a cratering of their tax revenues. Counties have lost $114 billion in revenues, according to the analysis.
“As counties wrestle with financial realities, many are forced to furlough workers, pause nonessential capital projects and rework depleted budgets while continuing essential services to residents,” the analysis concluded.
As a result, some 120 counties “have been forced to furlough or lay off a share of the county workforce due to COVID-19 budget impacts, though many more counties are expected to have enacted similar measures,” the analysis found.
John Micek is the editor of the Pennsylvania Capital-Star, where this story was first published.