Tag Archives: economic

US State and Local government grows despite recession

While businesses across the United States slash jobs, state and local governments have actually increased employment slightly since the economic recession began in December 2007, according to a report released on Thursday.

“As is the typical pattern in recessions, overall state and local government employment continued to grow after the start of the recession, although there has been a small decline since the August 2008 peak,” said Donald J. Boyd, author of the report by the Rockefeller Institute of Government, in a statement.

Total employment in state and local government rose in 30 states, fell in 16 and was unchanged in four during the last year, the report found.

Governments have added about 110,000 jobs since the recession began, according to the report by the Rockefeller Institute, which is the public policy research arm of the State University of New York.

The recession’s impact on government employment typically lags that of the private sector, Boyd said.

“Further employment reductions are almost certainly on the way,” he said.

At least 20 states have imposed unpaid furlough days on their workers to cut spending without having to resort to layoffs, according to the report.

States also have been able to avoid shedding jobs with help from the more than $36 billion for fiscal relief they have received under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the report said. (Reporting by Karen Pierog; Editing by Jan Paschal)

700 of 796 stimulus jobs are state workers in New Hampshire!

Nashua got the fourth most cash of any New Hampshire community from the first phase of federal stimulus money, falling behind Manchester, Windham and Concord.

Nashua, the state’s second largest city, received $16.1 million from 20 different grant programs ranging from $5,005 for an air conditioner and other upgrades at the Nashua Children’s Home to $3.2 million in federal subsidy to children with special needs in the city’s schools.

Manchester received the most, $40.6 million, while the capital city, Concord, got $24.3 million.

Acting State Stimulus Office Director Orville “Bud” Fitch presented an inch-thick, initial progress report on $336 million in discretionary, federal stimulus money that thus far has flowed into the state.

The figures will be updated quarterly, he told the Executive Council at its breakfast meeting on the Manchester Community College campus.

“These numbers are not complete, but I am highly confident that they are up to date,” Fitch said during an interview.

The report also revealed that through the end of June that stimulus money created or saved 796 jobs, with 700 of those state workers who did not have to get laid off thanks to the federal grants, Fitch said.

Federal highway money accounted for 75 jobs and weatherization programs kept or added 16 to the payroll, he added.

Road or building project locale, rather than median income or economic woes, played a big part in communities that received an Obama administration windfall.

For example, Windham is only the 21st largest community in the state with more than 11,500 residents, but it received the second greatest grant total, $27.6 million.

That’s because more than 95 percent of the money going to the town – $27.3 million – is to pay for widening that stretch of Interstate 93 that goes through the town.

Likewise, Concord got $7.6 million to resurface from Exits 14 through 17 on I-93 and claimed as its own many statewide initiatives such as the near-$700,000 grant to create a State Police cold case unit

Nashua received $6.3 million in transportation money, much of it to reconstruct the aircraft-parking apron at Boire Field and make other airport improvements.

Manchester, with 60 grants, got considerably more than Nashua, thanks in part to education grants that were based on the number of low-income students in Title I and students with special needs.

Education money to Manchester ($16.3 million) was more than double what Nashua got ($7.1 million).

Manchester’s grant total ballooned as its 25 grants to low-income housing projects ($6.3 million) were individually named while Nashua’s money pool was initially given only to the Nashua Housing Authority ($1.2 million).

Fitch noted that stimulus money going to programs like the anti-poverty Southern New Hampshire Services Inc. are listed as going to Manchester but spread throughout the southern tier to include Nashua.

Locally, other grant totals thus far included Amherst ($535,959), Hudson ($1.4 million), Merrimack ($1.2 million), Milford ($874,288), Hollis ($450,213), Litchfield ($532,683), Brookline ($146,031), Londonderry ($1.2 million), Lyndeborough ($30,100) Mason ($22,044), Mont Vernon ($57,867), New Ipswich ($482,464), Pelham ($556,246), Sharon ($0), Temple ($0) and Wilton ($177,654).

Within the next week, Fitch said his office plans to have posted in Google map fashion a push pin next to each community the public can click on to find a full listing of all stimulus grant dollars going to that city or town.

Gov. John Lynch praised Fitch, who’s been working on his own since a summer intern went back to school. The Legislature has already approved a 15-month, $2 million budget for the stimulus office that will ultimately have five, full-time staff including a $120,000-a-year director.

“He does a remarkable job equal to the work of a dozen people,” Lynch said.

Article is written by Kevin Landrigan with the Nashua Telegraph in New Hampshire.

Cuba has a shortage of toilet paper!

ODD-US-CRISIS-TOILETPAPER-odd

Cuba, in the grip of a serious economic crisis, is running short of toilet paper and may not get sufficient supplies until the end of the year, officials with state-run companies said Friday.

Officials said they were lowering the prices of 24 basic goods to help Cubans get through the difficulties provoked in part by the global financial crisis and three destructive hurricanes that struck the island last year.

Cuba’s financial reserves have been depleted by increased spending for imports and reduced export income, which has forced the communist-led government to take extraordinary measures to keep the economy afloat.

“The corporation has taken all the steps so that at the end of the year there will be an important importation of toilet paper,” an official with state conglomerate Cimex said on state-run RAdio Rebelde.

The shipment will enable the state-run company “to supply this demand that today is presenting problems,” he said.

Cuba both imports toilet paper and produces its own, but does not currently have enough raw materials to make it, he said.

One of the measures taken to address the cash crunch is a 20 percent cut in imports, which in recent days has become evident in the reduction of goods in state-run stores.

Cuba imports about 60 percent of its food.

Despite the shortages, prices will be cut between 5 percent and 27 percent for some food, drugs and personal hygiene products, officials said.

A visit to a store in Havana‘s Vedado neighborhood on Friday found that prices had dropped for mayonnaise, barbecue sauce and canned squid.

One customer, who gave his name only as Pedro, complained that “it doesn’t look like prices have been lowered for the fundamental products” such as cooking oil.

Ana Maria Ortega, deputy director for military-run retail conglomerate TRD Caribe, said there will be no shortage of basic goods.

“The conditions are in place to maintain the supply of essential products,” she said on the same radio program.

Cubans receive a subsidized food ration from the government each month that they say meets their needs for about two weeks.

President Rail Castro told the National Assembly last week that the government had cut its spending budget for the second time this year and has been renegotiating its debt and payments with foreign providers.

Cuba has long blamed the 47-year-old U.S. trade embargo against the island for many of its economic problems. It also said that last year’s hurricanes did $10 billion worth of damage that forced the government to spend heavily on imports of food and reconstruction products.

Castro, who replaced his ailing older brother Fidel Castro as president last year, also has complained that Cuba’s productivity is too low.

He has taken various steps to boost output, including putting more state-owned land in private hands and pushing for salaries to be based on productivity.

(Reporting by Nelson Acosta and Esteban Israel; Editing by Jeff Franks and Will Dunham)

The New Great Depression

Garrett B. Gunderson, author of “Killing Sacred Cows” talks about how we as a society are welcoming a great depression by how we talk to each other.