Public Schools Suffer in Otherwise Strong Jobs Report

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Pink hearts on chairsThe nation received great news on May 7, when the U.S. Labor Department reported that payrolls grew by 290,000 jobs in April—the largest one-month gain in more than four years. Beneath the surface, however, were troubling trends in the public sector, where state and local governments shed 6,000 jobs in an otherwise strong report.

Much of the pain centered on public education at the local level, which lost 1,400 jobs last month, reports AFT budget analyst Ed Muir.

"Since state and local governments account for one in seven U.S. workers," stresses economist Heather Boushey of the Center for American Progress, "we need to make sure that states do not drag down growth by continued lay-offs in the months to come" if the recovery is to be a strong one.

With estimates that up to 300,000 school employees' jobs are at risk for the coming year, the AFT is using its current Fight for America's Future jobs tour—and the related "Pink Hearts, Not Pink Slips" campaign—to press the case for quick, decisive federal action that can help head off catastrophic cuts at the local level. Details about the tour are available on the AFT website.

May 7, 2010