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State and Local Government Workers: Where Do They Work? In our Schools

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Yesterday, the Census Bureau released estimates from the 2011 Annual Survey of Public Employment & Payroll. The total number of state and local government workers in March 2011 declined slightly to 19.4 million. Where do these public employees work? The majority of them, about 57 percent, work in education services.

About 40 percent of state and local government workers are employed by our elementary and secondary school systems. About two-thirds of these workers are directly involved in instructional activities. The other third of these school system workers include cafeteria workers, secretaries, custodians, etc.

Although local governments run most of the elementary and secondary school systems, about 48 percent of state government workers are employed by our public colleges and universities.

While elementary and secondary total employment fell 0.9 percent from March 2010 to March 2011, higher education employment rose 1.4 percent. While the number of full-time elementary and secondary employees fell 1.4 percent, the number of part-time elementary and secondary employees rose 0.9 percent. The number of part-time instructional employees rose 2.1 percent.

Total March 2011 pay for education-related employees was $36.6 billion, about 52 percent of total pay that month for all state and local government employees. About 72 percent of the education-related pay went to our elementary and secondary workers.

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