Big Cuts in State and Local Government Jobs

Source: Lucy Dadayan and Donald J. Boyd, Issue Brief, Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, January 2013

Employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show unprecedented cuts in state and local government jobs — five years after the start of the Great Recession in December 2007.

The report shows that the impact of the Great Recession on state and local public employment has been much deeper than any other recession in the last 50 years. Other findings include:
• After state and local government jobs peaked in August 2008, 681 thousand jobs in that sector have been cut – a loss of 3.4 percent.
• Local governments have been hit harder than state governments: local governments shed 546 thousand jobs, for a 3.7 percent reduction since August 2008; state governments lost 135 thousand jobs, a 2.6 percent decline.
• Within state governments, cuts have occurred among noneducation jobs, while state jobs in education (mostly colleges and universities) have grown.
• In contrast, local government reductions in employment have been greater in the education area (largely K-12 schools) when compared to local noneducation jobs.
• States have varied a great deal in state and local government job trends. Cuts have been sharp in the Northeast, the Upper Midwest, the Southwest, and the extreme Southeast (Florida, Alabama, and Georgia). Public sector jobs have been cut less or have even grown in oil-rich states.