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Census Bureau Reports State and Local Government Employment Remains at 16.6 Million

*REVISED* Many States Show Wide Variation in Government Employment From 2008 to 2009

(Correction Note)

     The nation's 89,526 state and local governments employed 16.6 million full-time equivalent employees in 2009, statistically unchanged from 2008, according to government employment data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Part-time employees numbered 4.7 million, not statistically different from 2008.

    Local governments accounted for 12.2 million full-time equivalent employees, and state governments had 4.4 million. (Local governments include counties, cities, townships, special districts and school districts.)

    Most full-time equivalent state and local employees worked in education (8.9 million), hospitals (1.0 million), police protection (963,139) and corrections (759,513). Education included employment in elementary and secondary education, employment in higher education, and employment in support of special programs primarily for adult, vocational or special education that operate outside school systems. (See table 1. Excel)

Local Government Employment

    In the case of full-time equivalent employment between 2008 and 2009, most states showed decreases in employment. (See table 2. Excel)

     South Dakota's local full-time equivalent employment increased the most (12.7 percent), with the number of full-time employees growing by 5.5 percent. Although the number of part-time employees decreased from 15,552 to 11,247, the number of hours worked by those part-time workers increased 25.5 percent. Conversely, Maine showed the largest decrease in full-time equivalent with a drop from 55,059 in 2008 to 50,494 in 2009, a decline of 8.3 percent.

     For local government in most states between 2008 and 2009, part-timers were more affected, decreasing 4.0 percent. Contributing to this decline were 16 states that saw decreases in local government employment of 8.0 percent or more, led by South Dakota, which showed a 27.7 percent decrease. Increases of 8 percent or more occurred in six states, led by Louisiana (24.3 percent) and Kentucky (23.8 percent). (See table 3. Excel)

State Government Employment

     For state government employment, the changes in general were less drastic for both full-time equivalent and part-time employees. Six states showed increases of 4.0 percent or higher in full-time equivalent employment, led by Illinois with a 6.2 percent increase. Similarly, four states showed decreases of 4.0 percent or higher in full-time equivalent employment, led by Maine with a 6.8 percent decrease. (See table 2. Excel)

     Part-timers in state government saw a double-digit decrease in one state (Arizona at 11.1 percent) and double-digit increases in three states: Maine (21.3 percent), Oregon (18.6 percent) and Colorado (16.6 percent). (See table 3. Excel)

     The estimates come from the Census Bureau's Annual Survey of Government Employment and Payroll. They show total state and local government employment, with separate totals at the state and local levels, for government functions at the national level and for each state.

     The number of full-time equivalent employees is equal to the number of hours worked by part-time employees divided by the standard number of hours for a full-time employee. The result is then added to the number of full-time employees. Total number of government units is as of the 2007 Census of Governments.


The Annual Survey of Government Employment and Payroll was compiled in March 2009.

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 <>.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | | Last Revised: September 09, 2014