Mike Maciag is Data Editor for GOVERNING.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
While private-sector employers added an impressive 246,000 jobs last month, state governments continued to further trim their payrolls.
U.S. Department of Labor data released Friday indicates states shed 8,000 jobs in February -- the fifth consecutive month of job reductions. Since October, states eliminated 53,000 positions nationwide, with colleges and universities incurring the bulk of the cutbacks.
State education employees have been hit hardest. Employment levels for other state workers fluctuated little, remaining relatively flat this year.
Previous state government employment estimates were revised down by 19,000 for January and 4,000 for December.
Meanwhile, at the local level, government employment hasn't changed much so far this year. Localities cut 2,000 jobs last month after payrolls shrunk 4,000 in December, according to Labor Department estimates. Those reductions are very minor, considering the size of local government payrolls nationwide is nearly three times that of state governments.
An International Public Management Association for Human Resources survey published last month reported only 11 percent of state and local governments expected to make job cuts this year, down from 22 percent in 2012.
Private-sector growth in February’s jobs report signaled a strong month for the national economy, with the U.S. unemployment rate falling to 7.7 percent -- the lowest level in more than four years.
The following major private-sector industries added the most number of jobs in February:
Professional and business services: +73,000
Trade, Transportation and utilities: +30,000
Leisure and hospitality: +24,000
Education and health services: +24,000
Financial activities: +7,000
Mining and logging: +5,000
Here's an updated chart showing estimated month-to-month seasonally adjusted changes in public-sector employment.
GOVERNING By the Numbers is a companion to GOVERNING Data that digests the growing body of work at the intersection of computer-assisted journalism, data visualization and government transparency.
GOVERNING By the Numbers is dedicated to telling important stories through numbers, with a focus on both our original work in data visualization on GOVERING Data and providing an ongoing tally of editor's picks of new and notable data releases of use to those in government and those who care about it.