Public-sector jobs — especially in local government — disappeared rapidly in April and May amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But in June, the most recent data shows that employment was relatively flat.
After two months of shrinking government employment, public-sector jobs stayed at about the same level in the most recent data release.
A report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a slight increase in government employment of about 33,000 from May to June, a rise of about two-tenths of a percentage point. That’s slower than the economy-wide growth of 4 percent, driven largely by the leisure and hospitality sector.
The gains in government employment were due almost entirely to local education jobs, which increased by about 70,000 month-over-month — this despite state education jobs declining by nearly 19,000. Non-education jobs in state and local government fell another 19,000, which is far lower than the more than 500,000 jobs lost in those sectors in April and May.
Year-over-year trends were almost all dramatically down, as they likely will be until and unless employment in the sector begins to rise back to pre-coronavirus levels. However, the data for June largely missed the recent resurgence of COVID-19 infections and the resulting backward steps some areas have taken in allowing economic activity to resume.
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