Report: The pandemic wiped out 1.3M local gov’t jobs in just two months | Tuesday Morning Coffee

June 23, 2020 7:12 am

(Getty Images)

Good Tuesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

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.

(Source: National Association of Counties)

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.

(Source: National Association of Counties)

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.

Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey Jr. speaks at a rally pushing for gun control laws at the Capitol in Harrisburg on August 7, 2019. The event came just days after two mass shootings in 24 hours killed 31 Americans. (Capital-Star photo by Stephen Caruso)

The Most Bob Casey Endorsement Ever.
Surprising absolutely no one, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., has endorsed two-term Auditor General Eugene DePasquale in his bid to unseat GOP U.S. Rep. Scott Perry in the race for central Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District, we can exclusively report.

Eugene has spent his career in public service fighting for working families and protecting the most vulnerable people in our communities,” Casey, a former two-term auditor general himself, said in a statement released by DePasquale’s campaign on Monday evening.

“As auditor general, he’s worked to hold Pennsylvania’s government accountable to the people it serves, and to protect the Commonwealth against waste, fraud and abuse.” Casey continued. “Eugene understands the struggles working Pennsylvania families face, and I know he’ll be a fierce advocate for them in Washington. He’s exactly the kind of fighter the people of Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District deserve to have representing them in Congress.”

DePasquale, more astute readers will recall, defeated Hershey attorney Tom Brier to secure the Democratic nomination in one of the country’s most closely watched congressional contests.

The Pennsylvania Capitol building. (Capital-Star photo by Sarah Anne Hughes)

Our Stuff.
As expected, House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler, R-Lancasterascended to the Speakership on Monday afternoon. Stephen Caruso reports.

Caruso also has what you need to know about the rest of the House GOP leadership races, including the election of Rep. Donna Oberlander, R-Clarion, as House GOP whip, and what that means for a potential change in governing style. 

A state Senate panel has unanimously advanced a ban on police chokeholdsElizabeth Hardison has the details.

From our partners at the Philadelphia Tribune, here’s a look at all the ways that Philadelphia is trying to help small businesses get back on their feet.

On our Commentary Page this morning, opinion contributor Anwar Curtis muses on the questions he’s had to ask himself as a Black man in America. For instance, how can he reassure his fiancee that he’ll return safe and alive when he leaves the house?

And Terrence Martin, writing for our sibling site, the Michigan Advance, heartbreakingly catalogues all the tough lessons he’s had to teach his son about being Black in America.

And two advocates from the state branch of the American Civil Liberties say now would be a fine time for Pa. lawmakers to pass an LGBTQ discrimination ban.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw (Philadelphia Tribune photo)

When it comes to police reform, is prevention really the best medicine? The Philadelphia Citizen takes up the question.
There’s concern in Allegheny County about a bump in coronavirus cases, the Tribune-Review reports.
There also has been a spike in cases in York County, the Sentinel of Carlisle reports.
With Columbus statues coming down elsewhere, the city of Easton, Pa., has no plans to remove a statue there, the Morning Call reports.

Here’s your #Pittsburgh Instagram of the Day:

Penn State University will turn the Nittany Lion Inn into an isolation center for students with COVID-19. And football fans shouldn’t expect packed stadiums this fall, WPSU-FM reports.
The state Supreme Court could rule as soon as this week in the ongoing staring contest between the Wolf administration and Republicans in the Legislature, the PA Post reports.
Officials in Wilkes-Barre are in the market for police body cams and are trying to formulate policies for their use, the Citizens-Voice reports.
An internal Democratic poll in Buck County’s 1st Congressional District shows the race is in the margin between GOP U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick and challenger Christina Finello. Ex-Veep Joe Biden has a 14-point edge in the district, according to PoliticsPA.
Protesters in Lafayette Park, outside the White House, tried to pull down a statute of President Andrew Jackson, a slave owner and President Donald Trump’s favorite president, NYMag’s Intelligencer reports.

What Goes On.
The House comes in at 11 a.m. today, while the Senate convenes at 1 p.m.
Here’s a look at the day’s committee action:

In the Senate (all sessions live-streamed):
10 a.m.: 
Environmental Resources and Energy Committee
12:30 p.m.: Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee
Off the Floor: Finance Committee
Off the Floor: Health & Human Services Committee

In the House (all sessions live-streamed):
10 a.m.: 
Education Committee
10 a.m.: Environmental Resources & Energy Committee
10 a.m.: Local Government Committee
Call of the Chair: Appropriations Committee

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s a firm favorite from Biffy Clyro. It’s Black Chandelier.’

Tuesday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link.
Pittsburgh is out of the running for one of the NHL’s hub cities when the league eventually resumes play, PGH Hockey Now reports.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.