Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

Gov. Jerry Brown, shown last week, has gained approval from the Fitch Ratings Agency after presenting his revised budget.

The Buzz: Study finds governments imposing fewer layoffs and hiring freezes

Published: Monday, May. 20, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3A

Outlook up for state-, local-government workers

A new survey finds that "the picture is brightening" for state- and local-government civil service workforces as fewer employers resort to hiring freezes and layoffs – although they're continuing to whittle away at employee benefit costs.

About one-third of state and local governments told the nonprofit Center for State & Local Government Excellence that they're freezing pay this year. That's down from 51 percent in 2012.

Just 18 percent of government employers said they're laying off workers, compared with 28 percent that axed jobs last year.

Governments have continued making changes to health and retirement benefits, with 56 percent modifying health benefits in 2013 and 44 percent altering retirement programs. The change most often cited in both areas: shifting costs from the employer to the employee through higher contributions.

Meanwhile, 22 percent of employers surveyed said their retirement-eligible employees accelerated their retirement plans this year, the same as 2012.

AT THE CAPITOL

Immigrants from across California are to arrive in Sacramento today to advocate for a package of bills, including those to shield immigrants from deportation and establish more protections for domestic workers, as part of Immigrant Day organized by the California Immigrant Policy Center. A 10 a.m. rally on the Capitol's north steps starts things.

WORTH REPEATING

"In Fitch's view, the fiscal 2014 budget released by California's Governor Brown on May 14 would continue the disciplined approach to fiscal management shown by the state in recent years … ."

FITCH RATINGS AGENCY, reacting to last week's updated budget proposal

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