PA Must Reads: Charters A Drag On School District Budgets, One Good Jobs Report Does Not Equal Full Employment

A blog post by Mark Price, originally published at Third and State.

Stories this morning out of York and Delaware County suggest charter schools in urban areas are making it harder for public school districts to balance their budgets.

Paul Krugman explains why one relatively good jobs report does not mean we are getting any nearer to full employment anytime soon.

And we should never forget that the persistence of high unemployment inflicts enormous, continuing damage on our economy and our society, even if the unemployment rate is gradually declining. Bear in mind, in particular, the fact that long-term unemployment — the percentage of workers who have been out of work for six months or more — remains at levels not seen since the Great Depression. And each month that this goes on means more Americans permanently alienated from the work force, more families exhausting their savings, and, not least, more of our fellow citizens losing hope.

For a complete run down of the job numbers released on Friday, here are links to analysis by some of the best labor economists around:

The jobs deficit left from losses in 2008–2009 remains in excess of 11 million jobs (when you take into account both the 5.6 million fewer jobs we have now than we did before the recession started, and the fact that we should have added more than five million jobs to keep up with normal growth in the working-age population). To fully fill the gap in three years, by the start of 2015, we would have to add around 440,000 jobs every month between now and then.

The revisions actually improved the picture more than may be apparent, since a quirky 42,200 rise in courier jobs for December was completely eliminated in the revisions. Instead, the revised data show a 63,000 increase in jobs in professional and technical services for December, instead of the 12,000 previously reported.  This was largely due to more jobs in employment services, which reportedly rose by 21,800 in December and by 33,200 last month.  This is the sort of healthy job growth in this sector that often precedes more permanent hires.

Local government jobs for teachers, firefighter, and police officers, among others, fell by 14,000 jobs in December 2011 for a total decline of 181,000 jobs in 2011. State government jobs were flat in December 2011, after having fallen by 63,000 jobs in the prior 11 months.