The Big Story Blog

Gov't employment in Minnesota lowest in a decade?

Posted at 11:45 AM on January 19, 2012 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Jobs and unemployment

The number of people working for all levels of civilian government in Minnesota is down to levels not seen in more than a decade. We can say that now given the data released today showing Minnesota lost an estimated 6,100 jobs during 2011.

Those numbers match up with long range employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Here's the chart (via the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis) showing that data through November 2011. It includes state, local and federal civilian employees.

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That cliff dive toward the end of the chart comes from the state government shutdown this summer. While the jobs recovered as people were called back to work, the downward trend during the recovery is likely to continue.

Federal jobs make up a relatively small part of the above jobs picture. If you look at just state and local government employment, Minnesota is at its lowest point in decades relative to the overall workforce.

In an essay in December, a Department of Employment and Economic Development analyst looked at decades of state and local government employment and concluded:

While the public sector is the second-largest employer in Minnesota, state and local government employment as a percentage of all jobs here has been shrinking since 1976
.

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About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.