May Jobs Report: Municipalities Stronger Despite Sequester – Next City
The Equity Factor

May Jobs Report: Municipalities Stronger Despite Sequester

The Labor Department released its monthly jobs report on Friday and the economy added 175,000 jobs but saw a small increase in unemployment up to 7.6 percent.

Nothing really jumps out of the most recent report. The stagnant unemployment rate is across race and gender, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (7.2 percent), adult women (6.5 percent), teenagers (24.5 percent), whites (6.7 percent), blacks (13.5 percent), and Hispanics (9.1 percent) showed little or no change in May. The jobless rate for Asians was 4.3 percent (not seasonally adjusted), little changed from a year earlier,” the report said.

We are finally seeing the effects of the government sequestration, with federal employment down 45,000 over the last three months. But the economics blogger and Roosevelt Institute fellow Mike Konczal brings up a good point: While the federal and state government lost about 16,000 jobs in May, local government gained about 13,000. Despite the sequester, municipalities seem to be getting stronger.

I’m all for more strength in local municipalities, especially if it means those extra jobs are going towards redevelopment agencies (we can wish, can’t we?) or regional transit authorities (who knows). The data isn’t comprehensive enough to tell us what exactly all those local jobs are, but I imagine (and hope) that some of them are administrative or janitorial or parks and recreation, the kinds of jobs outside the knowledge economy that can at least help stave off the imminent threat of a completely eroded middle class.

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Bill Bradley is a writer and reporter living in Brooklyn. His work has appeared in Deadspin, GQ, and Vanity Fair, among others.

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