Laid-off, then hired back by the state of Washington

Jan 24, 2012

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The number of people who are out of work in Washington is falling. It’s a sign the economy is recovering – albeit slowly. But it’s only been in the last two months that the government sector has started hiring again.

Keri-Anne Jetzer’s low point came last year when she lost her job as a researcher for Washington’s Sentencing Guidelines Commission.

“I cried. I cried a lot. Part of it was because I was scared. Part of it was do my skills and abilities, is there any market for them?” Jetzer said.

Of course Jetzer worried about paying her mortgage. But she says the blow was more than just financial.

“I know that it wasn’t personal, but it’s hard not to take it personally and feel perhaps a little sense of failure,” she said.

Washington has shed roughly 17-thousand public sector jobs – half of them state positions. Dave Wallace is acting chief economist with Washington’s Employment Security Department. He says most of these job losses actually came after the Great Recession officially ended.

“There’s a different cycle to it. It’s almost a delayed effect,” Wallace said.

It’s only been in the past year that government has shrunk more than any other sector in Washington. As for Keri-Anne Jetzer, she went on unemployment.

“I was very stressed out.”

Jetzer has a Master’s degree, but it got to the point where was she ready to take a service job to wait out the bad economy. And then fate intervened. She landed a research job with a different state agency.

“I feel fantastic, I feel productive again. I feel I have a purpose in the world,” Jetzer said.

Jetzer knows some taxpayers may not like to hear Washington hired back a non-front line employee like her. But she feels her research into criminal justice issues helps policy makers make data driven decisions that ultimately save taxpayers money.

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network