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Like many people my age, I don’t read the newspaper, choosing instead to get my news from the Internet. This morning I began by checking Google News for any political happenings in Alabama (in general). Nothing new. Then I checked Rocket City News for some political goings-on in Huntsville, and the only new item was about the PACT program that a judge in Montgomery ruled on (hardly political in my opinion). Then I tried to look at Huntsville Times online, only to find out that they have changed their online system to be a paid page that you can only access if you pay for the physical paper. Finally, on www.al.com, I found something. It’s not much, but I feel it’s important for me to comment on it, and bring it to you (even though it’s a few days old).
In June, the state unemployment rate jumped up to 9.9 percent, largely due to a shrinking government sector (such as in the Huntsville area). However, it was mostly state and local government jobs that were cut. Governor Robert Bentley said “I understand the financial difficulties facing both the public and private sector, unfortunately layoffs are sometimes necessary. The economy is still recovering from the recession. State government has to live within its means, just like private sector businesses. Government cannot spend more money than it has.” A good attitude from a good conservative governor (too bad the Federal Government doesn’t have the same attitude).
The national unemployment picture isn’t much better than it is in Alabama, also increasing in May and June. The jump in Alabama overall was from 9.6% to 9.9%. Unfortunately, the jump for Huntsville and Madison County was 7.9 to 8.9 percent and 7.9 to 9.0 percent, respectively. This could, in part, be due to Federal budget issues (such as contract changes for DoD and NASA) that are causing companies to be laying off employees. I know from experience that contract changes within DoD are causing a lot of small companies to have to make major cutbacks as they sit around waiting for contracts to be awarded.
It’s a good thing that Federal and State Governments are trying to make cuts to their spending (the state of Alabama more so than the Federal Government), but it’s too bad that these cuts result in lost jobs. It would be ideal if these same governments could cut pay for employees, and make cuts elsewhere in the budgets (there’s more to a government budget than paying employees) to try and save these jobs.