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2012 Census of Governments: Employment Summary Report

Report Number G12-CG-EMP
Lisa Jessie and Mary Tarleton


This report is part of a series of reports that provide information on the structure, function, finances, taxation, employment, and pension systems of the United States’ over 90,000 state and local governments. The U.S. Census Bureau currently produces the Census of Governments quinquennially for the years ending in “2” and “7.” Additionally, associated intercensal surveys provide data quarterly and annually. These surveys provide a wealth of data on the economic activity of state and local governments.

For Census Bureau statistical purposes, a government is defined as an organized entity subject to public accountability, whose officials are popularly elected or are appointed by public officials, and which has sufficient discretion in the management of its affairs to distinguish it as separate from the administrative structure of any other government unit. Types of governments canvassed include states, counties, cities, townships, special districts, and school districts.

This report presents data on state and local government employment and payr oll based on information collected by the 2012 Census of Governments: Employment component for the month of March and historical data collected by prior surveys and censuses of government units. Data are published in tables at the federal, state, and local levels. Tables describing state- and local-level activities ar e aggregated into national, as well as individual state totals. Employment figures are available for full- and part-time workers, as well as full-time equivalent employees. Total pay amounts are also available separately for full- and part-time employees.

The Census of Governments: Employment component collects employment and payroll data broken out by functional category or type of job. The survey has maintained definitions consistently over the years, adding new services to definitions of functions as these services came to exist among state and local governments.

In addition to basic functional categories, three umbrella categories group functional categories together: Total Education, Total Police Protection, and Total Fire Protection. Education is an umbrella category covering all employees that ar e engaged in the operation, maintenance, and construction of public education facilities. This includes teachers, administrators, clerical, cafeteria, and maintenance workers, among others at the elementary, secondary, and postsecondary levels. Education data are available by component at the elementary/secondary levels, as well as higher education for instructional and noninstructional employees.

Police protection includes employees of police departments who are sworn police officers as well as those in assistance, such as dispatchers, coroners, and crime lab employees. Sworn police of ficers are counted specifically and can be separated from the wider functional category as shown in Tables 1 and 2. Fire protection is divided between fir efighters and other fire protection personnel.

Contracted employees of governments are not included in the employment or payroll amounts shown in this report. Additionally, these data do not account specifically for the effects of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 on public employment and payroll in state and local governments.

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