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State and Local Governments Employ 16.6 Million

Most work in education
  • February 06 2012

All politics is local, and those governments continue to be key providers of employment, even if they are hiring fewer people.

According to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the 90,740 state and local governments across the country had 16.6 million full-time equivalent employees in 2010, 203,321 fewer than were employed in 2009, according to estimates released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. The majority of these employees, 9 million, worked in education, followed by those working in hospitals (986,471) police protection (946,196) and corrections (731,692).

Part-time state and local government employees numbered 4.8 million in 2010, a decrease of 27,567 from 2009.

Local governments—which include counties, cities, townships, special districts and school districts—accounted for 12.2 million full-time equivalent employees in 2010, while state governments employed 4.4 million. Both figures showed decreases from 2009.

These estimates come from the Census Bureau's Annual Survey of Public Employment and Payroll. The survey shows totals for state and local government full-time and part-time employment and details employment by government function at the national and state level.

Between 2009 and 2010, most states saw decreases in full-time employment at the local level. Rhode Island showed the biggest decline (7.7 percent), while North Dakota saw the largest increase (7.5 percent).

At the state level, most state governments saw small decreases in full-time \ employment between 2009 and 2010. Idaho, Connecticut and Rhode Island saw the largest declines, each losing about 5 percent of their workforces. Texas saw the largest percent increase (5.9 percent), adding about 17,800 to its workforce.


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