The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its latest facts and figures on the state of the job market Friday. Warning: If there are small children or persons with a heart condition in the room, they should avert their eyes.
Done? OK, so here's how things looked as of month-end September:
Good news and bad news
It's a pretty grim report, no doubt, so let's begin with the good news: Last month, I told you that we were finally reaching the tail end of the 2010 Census layoffs wave. The "82,000-person overhang" I mentioned in September is now history. Last month, 77,000 Census workers headed for the doors. A few thousand more and the Census will finally stop playing havoc with the recovery.
Now for the bad news: It ain't enough. Just working through the Census overhang won't fix the jobs picture.
Layoffs of non-Census government workers were more than enough to snuff out any hope of jobs growth in September. In particular, cash-strapped states and municipalities laid off 76,000 employees last month. Even more particular, layoffs of teachers are hitting critical levels as cash-strapped states and municipalities cut their budgets to the bone.
What's it mean to you?
If you're a teacher, or a parent with kids in school, you're already feeling the budgetary bite. If you're an investor, though, you may not yet realize how bad this thing is gonna get. Let me clue you in:
First and most obviously, any company with ties to the business of educating public school kids must suffer from cutbacks to education spending. That means educational software hawker Blackboard
More broadly, though, legislators wouldn't be risking parent-voter ire with school funding cuts unless the situation was truly grim at the state and municipal level. Now's probably not a great time to invest in other companies dependent on local government spending for their revenue streams. Even spending that would be considered necessary in other times -- think Oshkosh
Moral of the story: Every job loss is a tragedy for the employee let go. But these job losses in particular could end in tears for all of us.
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Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. Rich is not a licensed economist, but he plays one on the Web. Check out his latest stock recommendations on Motley Fool CAPS. The Fool has a disclosure policy.
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