Pa. logs 6.2% decrease in noneducation workers in state, local government | Friday Morning Coffee

Meanwhile, employment in the private sector is up by 3.4 percent, Pew reported

September 17, 2021 6:30 am

Across the U.S., millions have lost jobs, paychecks and health insurance. (Getty Images / Spencer Pratt)

Good Friday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

Associate Editor Cassie Miller here, filling in for John.

Let’s dive right in, shall we?

While private sector jobs are rebounding from the COVID-19 closures, noneducation employment growth in state and local governments across the country have all but dried up, Pew Charitable Trusts data suggests.

Noneducation state and local jobs, including jobs at city and municipal buildings, police forces and correctional facilities have all declined by more than 400,000 since the pandemic began, according to the U.S. Department of Labor & Industry.

In fact, fourteen states recorded declines of more than 5 percent in noneducation workers in state and local government in July 2021 than in July 2019: New Mexico (-8.5%), New Hampshire (-7.6%), Connecticut (-7.6%), Louisiana (-7.5%), Illinois (-6.9%), Pennsylvania (-6.2%), Hawaii (-6.2%), New Jersey (-6.0%), Vermont (-5.9%), Massachusetts (-5.8%), Virginia (-5.5%), Nevada (-5.2%), New York (-5.1%), and Kansas (-5.1%).

According to Pew Trust data, the current number of noneducation state and local jobs is “about equal to the lowest point after the Great Recession,” with the sector down by .6 percent since December 2020.

Meanwhile, employment in the private sector is up by 3.4 percent, Pew reported.

(Source: The Pew Charitable Trusts)

So why haven’t the jobs recovered?

There are a few factors.

“Since the start of 2021, total job openings and the number of noneducation state and local government workers quitting have increased, according to Labor Department estimates,” the Pew report reads.

Pew also cites a survey conducted by MissionSquare Research Institute in May, which found that 31 percent of state and local employees said that working during the pandemic made them consider changing jobs.

“They were challenging to fill already, then you add the pandemic, and it becomes difficult to retain them,” Leslie Scott, director of the National Association of State Personnel Executives told Pew.

Unlike private businesses, state and local employers often cannot offer hiring bonuses or remote work options, she said.

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.