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State and local governments employ 16.4 million full-time equivalent employees in 2011

August 24, 2012

In March 2011, there were 16.4 million full-time equivalent employees working in state and local governments in the U.S., down 1.4 percent from 2010. According to estimates released today by the U.S. Census Bureau, the majority of these employees (8.9 million) worked in education, followed by those working in hospitals (964,381), police protection (923,951) and corrections (717,940).

These estimates come from the 2011 Annual Survey of Public Employment & 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. To arrive at the full-time equivalent employee calculation, the number of full-time employees is added to the number of hours worked by part-time employees divided by the standard number of hours for a full-time employee.

Local Government Employment

Local governments ─ which include counties, cities, townships, special districts and school districts ─ accounted for 12.0 million full-time equivalent employees in 2011, down 204,781 in full-time equivalent employees from 2010. Part-time state and local government employees numbered 4.9 million in 2011, an increase of 22,770 from 2010. Education accounted for the largest percentage of local government employment in the nation, with 7.0 million full-time equivalent employees (58.7 percent).

Between March 2010 and March 2011, most states saw decreases or no statistically significant change in local government full-time equivalent employees. Arizona showed the biggest percentage decline (7.0 percent) from 2010. Other states showing a decline of at least 4.0 percent were Indiana (6.1 percent), Michigan (5.9 percent), New Jersey (4.9 percent) and New York (4.2 percent). Arkansas saw the largest increase in local government full-time equivalent employees (13.3 percent) from 2010 to 2011. Other states showing an increase of at least 4.0 percent were Louisiana (4.5 percent), Maine (5.3 percent), Utah (4.5 percent) and Wyoming (5.6 percent).

The number of local government part-time employees in the U.S. increased from March 2010 to March 2011, with an overall gain of 10,021 employees. Mississippi had the largest gain in local part-time employment (up 14.7 percent), while Maine had the largest percentage decline of part-time employment (down 16.1 percent) from March 2010 to March 2011.

State Government Employment

State governments employed 4.4 million full-time equivalent employees in 2011, down 0.4 percent from 2010. Education accounted for the largest percentage of state government employment in the nation, with 1.8 million full-time equivalent employees (42.4 percent).

Half of the 50 state governments saw decreases in full-time equivalent employment between 2010 and 2011, with Louisiana leading with a 4.9 percent decline. Following Louisiana were Massachusetts (3.5 percent), New Jersey (3.4 percent), Oklahoma (3.1 percent) and New York (3.0 percent). North Carolina saw the largest percent increase in full-time equivalent employees (5.4 percent), adding 7,955 to its workforce. Following North Carolina in increased full-time equivalent employment were Utah (4.3 percent), Tennessee (4.0 percent), Arizona (3.0 percent) and North Dakota (2.5 percent).

Part-time state government employees in the U.S. increased 0.8 percent to 1.5 million full-time equivalent employees. Utah showed the largest percentage increase, up 18.0 percent from 2010. Following Utah were Montana (10.4 percent), Indiana (9.6 percent), Arkansas (7.6 percent) and Arizona (6.4 percent). Vermont saw the largest loss in part-time employment, down 20.4 percent from 2010. Following Vermont were Kentucky (10.5 percent), Connecticut (6.3 percent), New Jersey (5.5 percent) and Missouri (4.5 percent).

2012 Census of Governments

In 2012, the Census Bureau is conducting a census of governments, done every five years. All state and local governments will be canvassed for the 2012 Census of Governments: Employment Component. In other years, the Annual Survey of Public Employment & Payroll uses a sample of the local government universe from the previous census of governments to conduct the survey.

The Annual Survey of Public Employment & Payroll was compiled for the month of March 2011. Total number of government units is as of the 2007 Census of Governments. The data are subject to sampling and nonsampling errors. All comparisons made in the report have been tested and found to be statistically significant at the 90 percent confidence level. Further information about the methodology and data limitations is available at www.//census.gov/govs/apes/how_data_collected.

Editor’s note: The tables can be accessed at www.census.gov/govs/apes

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