Greener Grass for Public Employees

Source: Girard Miller, Governing, July 2008

Tough times favor government careers — and changes in plan design.

The economy is cyclical. So are labor markets. And so are the attitudes of workers about economic security and job flexibility. As private companies restructure their workforces, cut their bonus pools, move people around the country, eliminate benefits like retiree health care, and ask their workers to make lifestyle sacrifices, the grass begins to look greener on the public sector side of the fence. As reported in one news story, some workers have thrown in the towel on private-sector work and decided that a government job looks pretty good. That could have far-reaching implications as state and local governments cut back on spending and revisit the sustainability of their employee compensation and benefits plans.

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