Public Sector Workers and Job Security

Alicia H. Munnell Rebecca Cannon Fraenkel

SLP#31

The brief’s key findings are:

  • State and local government employment dropped sharply during the Great Recession, unlike in previous recessions, and continues to decline even today.
  • But this decline in public sector employment was less severe than that experienced by the private sector.
  • Being a state/local worker reduced the probability of job loss by 2 percentage points, after controlling for education and other characteristics.
  • While this relative job security is an attractive aspect of state/local employment, it is not enough to tip the balance of total compensation in favor of public workers.