The October job estimates released on Friday by the federal Labor Department signal a slowdown in local government hiring.

Nationally, local governments added just 4,000 jobs last month after shedding 7,000 positions in September. The sector had recorded fairly steady gains over much of the year, particularly in education. But estimates for local education public employment, which are seasonally adjusted, declined the past two months.

Employment for all other areas of local government continues to grow but at a relatively slow pace. Over the past 12 months, noneducation local employment has expanded by an estimated 82,000 positions nationally -- an increase of about 1 percent.

Meanwhile, state government employment remains mostly flat. Jobs at colleges and universities account for nearly all of what little growth has occurred this year.

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