Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics continue to show broad declines in state and local government employment in a majority of states, although public-sector jobs have increased elsewhere. This Data Alert examines recent changes in state and local government employment at the individual state level, as well as the national level, using several recent periods for comparison.
Using three-month employment averages to smooth short-term variations, total U.S. nonfarm employment rose by 1.4 percent over the year ending in January 2012. The growth was driven by a 2.0 increase in the private sector (+2.1 million jobs). By contrast, all the subsectors of government reported declines in employment over the year. As shown on Table 1, federal government employment declined by 1.2 percent (-35,000 jobs), state government employment by 1.5 percent (-76,000 jobs) and local government employment by 1.1 percent (-163,000 jobs).