Despite false claims that the unemployment rate is shrinking, Governor McAuliffe of Virginia recently announced that he would lay off 565 state employees in order to close Virginia’s $2.4 billion budget gap. He also said the government would not hire as many new state police as intended. Not hiring more police is a good thing for the working people who have routinely been turned into targets and scapegoats by authority figures, but the fact that they are even cutting back police is telling.
Cut backs on federal spending have also lead to job losses for Virginians who work for, or are contractors for, the federal government, especially in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia.
In the private sector, Colonial Downs, the state’s only horse racing track, will soon be closed. Management was unable to come to an agreement with its horsemen’s association, resulting in the owners giving up their racing license. All workers will lose their jobs on November 1st.
The unemployment rate for the whole country may be going down on paper, but in reality it is unchanged. Less people are considered unemployed because their benefits ran out, not because they were able to find work. At least half of the available jobs are only part-time, making it hard for working-class people to get enough hours to support themselves. Given that it is the end of the year, many of the new jobs are only seasonal and will end in lay offs by February at the latest. The real unemployment rate is 12.6 percent.