The city of Trenton, Calif., may lose 60 firefighters among other layoffs in its civil workforce.
Although the private sector has made meager employment gains since the beginning of the long climb out of the recession, government jobs are disappearing at an accelerating rate.
In the near future, economists expect increasing numbers of nongovernment jobs to begin swelling tax revenues, if only slightly. Still, local and state governments are keeping a tight grip on their money, seeking to fix budget shortfalls by slashing services.
So while the federal government has grown a little since the recession, and many states have recently begun to add a few jobs, local governments are making new cuts that outweigh those gains. More than a quarter of municipal governments are planning layoffs this year, according to a survey by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence. They are being squeezed not only by declining federal and state support, but by their devastated property tax base.
“The unfortunate reality is our revenue streams have not rebounded,” said Timothy R. Hacker, the city manager of North Las Vegas, which has cut its work force to 1,300 from 2,300 and is about to lay off 130 more. “Shaking this recession is becoming increasingly difficult.”