In one Mayor Lori Lightfoot's most staggering promises, she has ruled out layoffs in city government because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are not expecting to do any layoffs,” the mayor told a news conference hours before Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order was extended for another month.
“Our economy in this region is incredibly diverse. And if you look at how we have fared in other economic downturns — whether it was 9/11, the Great Recession of 2008 or 2009 — we’ve had some impact, of course. But, we rebounded back very, very strong and well.”
Wow, talk about President Donald Trump being disconnected from reality. That would make Chicago unlike every other city in America whose budgets are getting torpedoed by the pandemic's higher costs and lower revenues.
In just three weeks, jobless claims have roared in the tune of 16 million but if Lightfoot is right, none of the city's 34,000 are included. Meanwhile, Chicago taxpayers will continue to get squeezed, but only tighter.
No one wants to see anyone get fired, but the exclusive club of Chicago employees reeks of dysfunction, at best. Or blind incompetence and the Way of Chicago.
Consider: The New York Times reported that ten percent of American workers filed for unemployment in the past three weeks; never, not even in the Great Depression, has the nation suffered such a rapid collapse of the labor market.
Millions more are struggling to submit unemployment claims to overwhelmed state agencies. And still more face the loss of their jobs in the coming weeks.
The scale of the economic damage is breathtaking. In one recent poll, more than half of all Americans under the age of 45 said that they had lost their jobs or suffered a loss of hours.
Meanwhile, Reuters reports:
But that mammoth effort [the federal rescue package] is still likely to leave millions of additional Americans unemployed for an extended time, according to new economic forecasts that see U.S. unemployment not just spiking to Depression-era levels in coming weeks, but remaining above a relatively high rate of 6% through the end of 2021.
But not Chicago city workers. Did I hear someone say, "We're all in this together?"