It's that time of the year, when new college graduates are job-hunting. Since the recession, the year-to-year increase in the number of new bachelor's degrees has averaged roughly 2 percent. Meanwhile, surveys of private-sector employers show that they plan to increase hiring between 5 and 10 percent each year. That imbalance will continue to push up salaries, making it harder than ever for government to compete in the employment marketplace.
For the foreseeable future, public-sector staffing shortages are inevitable, and the only short-term answer is requiring costly overtime or raising pay levels to attract qualified applicants. In the long run, if hiring new staff remains difficult, public employers need to adopt practices to boost employee productivity.