State and Local Government Make Slow Job Gains in September

If one excludes education, where employment fell, state and local government saw slow gains in jobs in the latest federal report. But the virus is still spreading, and economic recovery is not happening quickly.

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to spread, economic recovery is happening slowly, and the most recent jobs numbers for state and local government are no exception.

State and local government employment shrank about 1 percent each last month — driven by education losses — while total jobs increased by less than 1 percent.

Outside education, state and local government actually added a small number of jobs: 800 at the state level, and 96,400 at the local level. Local government employs far more people than state or federal; that number was good for a 1.6 percent increase.

All numbers — except federal government, which is momentarily inflated because of Census employment — are still far below their levels in the same month of 2019.

Though there have been some gains in some places, the recovery is clearly not happening quickly like some people speculated it might during the early months of the pandemic. New unemployment claims have stabilized in recent weeks at close to four times their pre-pandemic levels, and President Donald Trump recently withdrew his support for any further stimulus package before the election, weakening the likelihood of aid coming in for governments looking at the possibility of making deep budget cuts.

Previous months of analysis: AugustJuly, 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.