Whose job got saved?

August 11th, 2010 by Ken

By Jan Teague

I read an article in The Columbian Friday that talked about the Senate approving Medicaid funding for the states. The House this week went on and gave the bill its approval as well.   Because of that, our state has avoided a meltdown and across-the-board cuts as had been predicted these past few weeks. Washington will receive $338 million for Medicaid and $205 million for education.

What struck me about the article was the author’s observation that public sector jobs continue to be protected while the private
sector is on its own. Some 300,000 government jobs will be saved if the Medicaid money is approved.  The Columbian said that it would be
tolerable that this money was being spent if Congress also focused as much money on the private sector.

The Columbian refers to this money as “costly candy” being served up during an election year. And those saved jobs are
workers who are members of unions that have, for the most part, escaped any pay and benefits burdens caused by the recession. The article questions why Governor Gregoire has not declared a fiscal emergency and reopened contract negotiations with the public employees unions.

Today I checked the employment data and the unemployment rates for Washington State. The unemployment rate has fallen slightly in the past year, from 9.1 percent to 8.9  percent in June of this year. Though about 5,000 more retail jobs have been added in the past year, those 314,900 jobs are still 13,500 short of the 328,400 people who were working in retail in our state in the summer of 2008.

We’ll know we’re in a real recovery when we regain the retail jobs lost in the past couple of years.

(Teague is the president and CEO of the Washington Retail Association)

Posted in Business, Government, Informational, The Real News

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