A couple of weeks ago, I said that I would take a look at private vs. public payrolls in Georgia over the last few years.
So in this post I’m simply comparing the payroll employment data from the Georgia Department of Labor for June 2008 (available via spreadsheet here) vs. June 2012 (the most recent month released). The recession began in late 2007, but Georgia’s total payroll employment was slightly higher in June 2008 than in June 2007. Employment tends to be a lagging economic indicator — establishments with payrolls are slow to fire and slow to hire.
First some data and then a few comments.
In June 2008, Georgia had 4,120,400 nonfarm payroll jobs. Of those, 3,437,800 were private and 682,600 were public.
Here’s the breakdown of those government jobs in June 2008:
- Federal: 98,400 (37,600 Dept. of Defense)
- State: 158,000 (71,100 State Govt. Educational Services)
- Local: 426,200 (259,900 Local Govt. Educational Services)
In June 2012, Georgia had 3,933,300 nonfarm payroll jobs. Of those, 3,271,100 were private and 662,200 were public.
Here’s the breakdown of those government jobs in June 2012:
- Federal: 101,700 (42,300 Dept. of Defense)
- State: 147,200 (72,700 State Govt. Educational Services)
- Local: 413,300 (245,200 Local Govt. Educational Services)
So in June 2012, 16.8% of all jobs in the state were public; that’s up slightly from June 2008, when 16.6% of all jobs in the state were public.
A few observations:
- Just as employment is a lagging indicator generally, public employment declines have lagged private sector declines in this downturn. We will likely see government employment fall below that 16.6% level of 2008.
- Federal and state government employment in Georgia declined from June 2011 to June 2012, with declines in both Dept. of Defense employment and in State Government Educational Services.
- Local government employment in Georgia actually increased 1.9% between June 2011 and June 2012, although Local Government Educational Services employment fell 0.6% in that time.
- Georgia’s private sector increased employment by a decent 1.4% over the past year.
- If we subtract the number of defense jobs, we’ve seen a decline in other federal jobs since 2008.
- Without the steep declines in education jobs, Georgia’s local governments have actually added a few jobs over the last four years.
- Of the total decline from June 2008 to June 2012 of 20,400 in government payrolls, 14,700 of those job losses were in local education.
It’s obviously important to remember that many government agencies and departments did not see the same collapse in demand that the private sector saw. Much of the government workload (education, sanitation, law enforcement, etc.) is directly proportionate to the size of the population, not to economic activity.
Full disclosure: I teach at Armstrong Atlantic State University, so I count as one of those state employees in education.