Public Sector Workers and Job Security


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.

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