Weathering the Storm: The Impact of Cutbacks on Public Employees

[We’re pleased to welcome author Jaclyn S. Piatak of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Dr. Piatak recently published an article in Public Personnel Management entitled “Weathering the Storm: The Impact of Cutbacks on Public Employees,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Dr. Piatak reflects on the impact and innovations of this research:

PPM_C1 template_rev.inddWhat motivated you to pursue this research?

I was working as a program analyst at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the U.S. Department of Labor when the Great Recession hit. One of my projects was to conduct a survey of the state OSHA programs to see how each of the state programs were impacted by the recession. I was fascinated by how each of the state governments had to take at least one cutback measure, if not several. These ranged from Utah going to a four-day work week to furloughs to layoffs. This was my first glimpse at the recession having a real influence on government, government employees, and the public services they provide.

Were there any specific external events—political, social, or economic—that influenced your decision to pursue this research?

Fast forwarding to the Trump-era hiring freezes, I became concerned with the government’s ability to continue to do more with less. Between loss of positions due to the economic downturn and a large proportion of federal government employees retiring (or being eligible), the thought of a government-wide hiring freeze was disconcerting to say the least.

Were there any surprising findings?

Government employment has yet to rebound from the Great Recession. Private sector employment is back to pre-recession levels, but not the public sector. When looking across levels of government, the state government (excluding education) is particularly slow to recover.

This raises questions for timely staff recovery, organizational diversity, and the government’s capacity to cope with future crises.

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This entry was posted in Business and tagged , , , , by Cynthia Nalevanko, Senior Editor, SAGE Publishing. Bookmark the permalink.

About Cynthia Nalevanko, Senior Editor, SAGE Publishing

Founded in 1965, SAGE is the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. Known for our commitment to quality and innovation, SAGE has helped inform and educate a global community of scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students across a broad range of subject areas. With over 1500 employees globally from principal offices in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Washington DC, and Melburne, our publishing program includes more than 1000 journals and over 900 books, reference works and databases a year in business, humanities, social sciences, science, technology and medicine. Believing passionately that engaged scholarship lies at the heart of any healthy society and that education is intrinsically valuable, SAGE aims to be the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. This means playing a creative role in society by disseminating teaching and research on a global scale, the cornerstones of which are good, long-term relationships, a focus on our markets, and an ability to combine quality and innovation. Leading authors, editors and societies should feel that SAGE is their natural home: we believe in meeting the range of their needs, and in publishing the best of their work. We are a growing company, and our financial success comes from thinking creatively about our markets and actively responding to the needs of our customers.

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