The May 6 article "Huge layoffs are coming, but 30,000 figure is high" could have done more to explain why there are such varying differences in the job-loss numbers that are reported. These estimates vary because the House budget obscures more than it defines.
State agencies are given discretion to make management flexibility cuts that could result in the elimination of positions on top of those explicitly identified in the budget report. Local governments will be required to find additional dollars - with the reductions particularly in funding to schools - that could result in the elimination of positions. Yes, there will be indirect effects on jobs, too, but these are even more difficult to quantify. Most certainly, the House budget will create increased economic hardship throughout local economies as workers see their jobs eliminated, hours reduced or pay cut.
The real story of the jobs numbers game is whether we value public and private sector jobs equally for the contributions they make to a strong economy and society. We should. And even if we take the most optimistic numbers on either side, the House budget still leaves us with fewer employed people and less capacity for families and communities to provide opportunities to all North Carolinians.
Alexandra Forter Sirota, Durham
The writer is director, N.C. Budget & Tax Center.