State, Local Unemployment Steadies as Vaccine Rolls Out

With little assistance from the federal government, state and local jurisdictions have shed hundreds of thousands of jobs. Now those trends have plateaued as vaccines make their way out to their first recipients.

Perhaps now more than at any time during the year, there’s some light at the end of the tunnel for state and local government. The U.S. is distributing the first non-trial vaccines to health-care workers, and the incoming presidential administration has signaled support for the lower governments.

But for now, state and local government are treading water.

The most recent numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show losses for local government and small gains for state government amid incremental jobs growth economy-wide.

That’s including education. When one takes out education, the changes become even more minimal; states lost 4,100 jobs in November while local jurisdictions grew their employment 7,200. Education jobs fell sharply at both levels.

States and local governments are looking at heavy revenue losses from a variety of sources such as fees and property taxes. They received some aid in the CARES Act package passed early in the year, but since then, the federal government has mostly left them to fend for themselves.

So for now, they wait.

Continuous updates available here.

Previous months of analysis: October, September, August, July, June, May, April

Ben Miller is the associate editor of data and business for Government Technology. His reporting experience includes breaking news, business, community features and technical subjects. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, and lives in Sacramento, Calif.