All told, the public sector has shed over 600,000 employees since mid-2009. (The figure was 89,000 over the last three months of 2012, representing one government job lost for five gained in the private sector.) The triple whammy of declining state and local tax revenues (which only returned to 2008 levels last year), draconian budget cuts and the drying up of federal stimulus funds have led to a record decline in government jobs.
The impact on police and first responders has been staggering. Last August, an analysis by the Hamilton Project recorded an 8.9 percent drop from July 2009, with the number of police department employees dropping from 667,000 to 610,000. The ranks of emergency responders also dropped, from over 69,000 to 39,000. An October 2011 Justice Department analysis ("The Impact of the Economic Downturn on American Police Agencies") reported steep budget cuts, furloughs of both staff and uniformed officers, and downsizing through attrition. About 30,000 law enforcement jobs were left unfilled, while 28,000 officers and deputies faced week-long furloughs in 2010. Over half (51 percent) of the departments surveyed reported budget cuts averaging 7 percent between 2009 and 2010; 59 percent anticipated further reductions in 2011.
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