U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Skip Header

Education, Hospitals, Police Protection are Largest Government Employment Categories

Written by:

Education makes up the majority of state and local governments’ employment, according to the latest report from the Annual Survey of Public Employment and Payroll (ASPEP).

The survey shows statistics on the number of state and local government civilian employees and their gross payrolls for the month of March 2019, including state and local government full- and part-time employment, full-time equivalent employment and payroll statistics by governmental function.

The U.S. Census Bureau has been conducting the ASPEP annually (except 1996) since 1957.

Local governments employed 14.2 million workers in March 2019, far more than state governments that had 5.5 million employees on their payroll.

The latest report, the 2019 ASPEP, has some interesting data points for both state and local government employment.

For example, in March 2019 state and local governments employed 19.7 million people, an increase of 0.4% from the 2018 total. According to the survey, 14.8 million were classified as full-time and 4.8 million were part-time employees.

Local governments employed 14.2 million workers in March 2019, far more than state governments that had 5.5 million employees on their payroll.

Full-time state and local government payroll increased 3.4% to $79 billion, and part-time employees’ payroll totaled $6.8 billion.

The infographic below highlights the nation’s top 15 functions of government employment and showcases differences between state and local government employment. Education has further been broken down into two sub-functions for a better view of these differences.

Of the total 11.2 million public education employees, 8.3 million worked at the local government level, primarily in elementary and secondary education.

The Elementary and Secondary Education category comprised the majority of local government employment. State governments, as a comparison, employed another 2.9 million education employees, mostly in higher education.



Key data stakeholders, including the public, Congress, federal agencies, state and local governments, and educational and research organizations, rely on these results to develop the government component of the Gross Domestic Product, national income accounts, personal income figures for state and county areas, and for comparative studies.

They also use the data to make informed decisions on wage and salary negotiations by state and local governments.


Adam Grundy is a supervisory statistician in the Economic Management Division at the Census Bureau.


Page Last Revised - October 8, 2021
Is this page helpful?
Thumbs Up Image Yes Thumbs Down Image No
255 characters maximum 255 characters maximum reached
Thank you for your feedback.
Comments or suggestions?


Back to Header