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States, Local Governments to Add 220,000 Jobs by End of This Year, Report Says


Could this signal a new era of US growth following the worst financial crisis in 80 years?

This article was written by Dan Fastenberg and originally appeared on AOL Jobs.

Whether the US is in the midst of an economic and jobs creation comeback may be debatable.

But when it comes to public employees in 50 states, the economy certainly is brightening, and if you're looking for a new job, you may want to consider government work. At least according to a new report from Bloomberg News.

Over the past five years, state and local governments reduced their workforces by a combined total of roughly half a million. But in 2013, state and municipal agencies are poised to add employees, according to projections by Moody's Analytics, the credit ratings agency. In speaking to Bloomberg, Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody's, says he expects state governments will add a total of 220,000 new employees by the end of the calendar year.

Other economists are welcoming the report as a turning-of-the-page moment.

"The bloodletting on the state- and local-government level has finally passed through," said Jim Diffley, chief US regional economist for IHS Global Insight, the international economics consultancy. "They're no longer subtracting from growth."

Indeed, for some states, there is a boom. Texas, fueled by an oil and gas boom, is projected to have a surplus on par with the $8 billion record set in 2007, before the financial crisis hit, according to Bloomberg.

A Striking Turnaround

Only a few years ago, the situation appeared dire for state coffers. In a survey of crisis-stricken America during the summer of 2010, Time Magazine completed an analysis of local governments as a cover story, to which it gave the title, "The Broken States of America."

Nearly two-thirds of all states had been forced to order across-the-board budget cuts. And in terms of public workers, the situation for meeting contractual salary obligations was so bleak that 22 states instituted unpaid furloughs for their workers.

Even the most essential state workers, like teachers, firefighters and police, were at risk of being let go. Their employment status became so dire that President Barack Obama requested $50 billion in emergency aid from Congress in 2009 to avoid massive lay-offs. The request came on top of that year's controversial stimulus package, the cost of which was pegged at $787 billion.

In a letter to Congressional leaders regarding the emergency aid and stimulus package, Obama characterized the moves as enabling a new era after the worst financial crisis in 80 years.

"At this critical moment, we cannot afford to slide backwards just as our recovery is taking hold," he wrote back in 2010, according to the Washington Post.

But even with this new report by Bloomberg, some states aren't out of the woods yet.

According to a report from the non-profit Washintgon DC-based left-of-center think tank, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, states are still struggling to fund themselves. A total of 31 states entered the fiscal year 2013, which began on July 1, 2012, facing a combined budget shortfall of $55 billion.

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