With federal stimulus funds running out and local and state tax revenues falling, more government workers are losing their jobs as officials choose to cut city services rather than raise taxes.
Sixty-three percent of cities said they planned to cut public safety spending, according to data from the National League of Cities, 24/7 Wall St. reports. Furthermore, 87 percent of local governments said 2010 was a tougher year for them than 2009.
24/7 Wall Street compiled a list of 10 metro areas that have been hit hardest by government employee cuts, with New Orleans squarely at the top.
Despite the city's efforts to rebuild since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the metro area has suffered a huge, 21 percent decline in its local government work force from peak levels. Last year Mayor Mitch Landrieu ordered city workers to take 11 days off without pay to help plug a $67 million budget gap.
In April Landrieu signaled that the pain is far from over, saying this year, "yet again, we will ask every department in city government to get more efficient, to downsize, and to reduce costs.”
Detroit has also been hit hard, with a decline of 16.2 percent in local government jobs.
Mayor Dave Bing and the City Council are locked in a budget battle, with Bing warning of the potential layoff of 200 police officers and firefighters.
The full list of the 10 hardest-hit cities is contained in the accompanying table.