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Related Topic: Labor and Employment

Public Sector Remains in COVID Slump

As private sector employment has begun rebounding over the last year, job growth in state and local government has remained low, even stagnant, in most states and localities. The main reason is the pandemic, as not all services provided by state and local workers have returned to pre-pandemic levels. Many museums, zoos, parks and other recreational sites, for example, are still operating on reduced schedules.

What’s more, some state and local employers that laid off workers because of budget pressures have yet to call them back, or they require workers to furlough a few days a year. As in other sectors, public workers are retiring or transitioning out of government jobs, leaving positions vacant. Typically, government jobs are slower to recover from recessions, so the current slump is not unique in that way.

What’s different this time, however, is that instead of budget challenges slowing the road to recovery, it’s the pandemic’s unknown trajectory that’s delaying the public sector’s return.

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