Capitol Comments

A highly contagious strain of of avian influenza, or “bird flu”, hit the United States this year, leading at least 11 states—including Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia—to ban all bird shows this summer where birds might co-mingle, such as county or state fairs, in the hopes of stopping the spread of the disease. As of late-May, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the highly pathogenic H5 virus has led to the deaths of more than 40 million birds in 15 states.

Econ Piggy

The Pew Charitable Trusts has released an informative short video that evaluates what makes economic development policies - particularly those related to business incentives like tax credits and grants - successful. According to the video, states have dramatically increased spending on incentives and each year states spend billions of dollars on these programs. The video then asks a critical quesion:"Are they worth the price?". Check out the video below to learn what questions your state leaders should be asking when evaluating incentive programs.

Econ Piggy

In 1987, after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress officially designated the month of March as “Women’s History Month.” In honor of this month, here are a few stats about women in the United States.

According CSG's analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, at its peak in August 2008 state government employment stood at 5.21 million, or around 3.8 percent of total nonfarm employment. Over the next five years, state governments shed 187,000 jobs, landing at 5.03 million in July 2013. As of December 2014, state governments had regained 53,000 positions after hitting a low in July 2013, but have only recovered a little over one-quarter of the positions lost since the August 2008 peak.  In December 2014, state government employment made up 3.6 percent of total nonfarm employment.

During and after the Great Recession, job losses in the private sector were more pronounced than losses to state government employment. For example, from Dec. 2007 – Dec. 2008, private sector employment contracted by 3.2 percent and from Dec. 2008 – Dec. 2009, it fell by 4.5 percent. For state government employment, losses did not begin until 2009, when employment fell by 0.8 percent (Dec. 2009-Dec. 2010), 0.3 percent (Dec. 2009 – Dec. 2010) and 1.8 percent (Dec. 2010 – Dec. 2011).

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