At 8.9 million, education workers accounted for more than half of the 16.7 million state and local government full-time equivalent employees nationwide in 2008, according to new data released by the U.S. Census Bureau.
State and local governments had a 1.4 percent increase in employment from 2007. Local governments -- which include counties, cities, townships, special districts and school districts -- accounted for 12.3 million full-time equivalent employees in 2008, compared with 4.4 million full-time equivalents that were employed by state governments.
"These numbers are useful to a host of data users, including federal agencies, educational and research organizations, and the general public," said Lisa Blumerman, division chief of the Census Bureau's Governments Division. "Professional and academic analysts use the information for trend analysis, to compare public and private sector employment and payrolls in the U.S."
Besides education, some of the other employment categories that contributed the largest numbers to the state and local government employee workforce were hospitals (998,000), police protection (952,000) and corrections (748,000). Other employment categories include streets and highways, public welfare, health, judicial-legal, financial-administration and fire protection.
The payroll for state governments rose by 5.3 percent ($937 million) in 2008. Among the functions with the largest increases in payroll were education ($464 million) and corrections ($113 million).
For local governments, payrolls were up 5.9 percent ($2.7 billion) in 2008. Among the largest increases in payroll by function for local governments were education, fire protection, hospitals and police protection.