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Local Government Employment Still 4% Below Pre-COVID Level

The number of people working in local government continues to rise at a slow pace, and remains well below last year's level. However, the incoming administration has promised to prioritize state and local government aid.

by / November 11, 2020

As the U.S. goes through a major resurgence in COVID-19 cases, the local government continues to inch back toward its pre-pandemic employment levels.

But that’s about the end of the good news, such as it is, for government employment. The most recent numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show a loss for employment in state and local government when education is included — using seasonally adjusted numbers, education jobs have been receding lately.

If one excludes education, local government added 33,300 jobs in October, good for a half-point increase. State government jobs dropped slightly, and federal employment dropped amid Census-related trends.

Local government, excluding education, remains more than 4 percent lower than it was at the same time last year, illustrating the challenge most cities and counties are facing amid a recession and a monthslong lack of federal aid.

While aid to state and local government has reportedly been a sticking point in negotiations over federal economic legislation, president-elect Joe Biden has specifically named it as a priority in his transition plans.

Continuous updates available here.

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

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Ben Miller Associate Editor of GT Data and Business

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.

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