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Drop in public-sector jobs continues in parts of the Midwest

by Tim Anderson ~ April 2014 ~ Stateline Midwest »
Some Midwestern states continue to shed public sector jobs, new U.S. Census Bureau data show, with Michigan leading the nation in the decline of state and local government employment between 2007 and 2012.
In addition to Michigan, six other states in the region — Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota and Ohio — have had drops in state and local government employment over the last five years in which census data are available.
The recent national recession has had an unusually deep and lasting impact on public-sector employment, the Rockefeller Institute of Government notes in a 2013 study. In previous downturns, employment in this sector tended to rebound quickly. However, this time around, the Great Recession officially ended in mid-2009 — yet the number of U.S. federal, state and local employees fell by 115,733 between 2011 and 2012.
“While the overall level of job creation in the U.S. has been slow, it’s being dragged down by the significant job losses in the public sector, especially for local government jobs,” University of Michigan economics professor Mark J. Perry noted in a March article for the American Enterprise Institute.
Not since the end of World War II, he adds, has there been such a large contraction in government employment. The number of state and local government jobs, though, has been growing in some Midwestern states — including North Dakota, where the 7.7 percent rise between 2007 and 2012 marked the second-highest increase in the country.
Most state and local employment is in work related to K-12 and higher education.