State governments employed about 4.3 million workers nationwide in 2012, more than double the total 50 years ago. More recently, state payrolls recorded slight declines after years of slow growth leading up to the recession.
Those working at colleges and universities account for nearly half of total public employment at the state level. Other areas of state government with large numbers of employees include corrections, public welfare, health and hospitals.
Select a state in the tool below to display its employment data since 1960. All figures refer to full-time equivalent (FTE) employees.
Figures were compiled from the Census Bureau, which conducts a Census of Governments every five years along with the Annual Survey of Public Employment & Payroll.
Listed data includes totals for select larger functions of state government. Definitions describing types of employees for job types shown are available in the Census Bureau’s classification manual, beginning on page 373.