Government Grew by 48,000 Employees in April

Terence P. Jeffrey | May 7, 2021 | 9:10am EDT
Text Audio
00:00 00:00
Font Size
(Photo by Jim Watson-Pool/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jim Watson-Pool/Getty Images)

( - Federal, state and local governments in the United States increased their employment by a combined 48,000 workers in April, according to the numbers released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

From March to April, the number of workers employed by government in the United States climbed from 21,543,000 to 21,591,000.

Local government employment increased by 32,000, rising from 13,685,000 to 13,717,000.

State government employment increased by 7,000, rising from 4,970,000 to 4,977,000.

Federal government employment increased by 9,000 during the month, rising from 2,888,000 to 2,897,000.

The long-term trend has been for government employment to increase in the United States. But there was a precipitous drop in government employment in the United States in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

In February 2020, there were 22,835,000 people employed by government in this country. By May 2020, that had dropped to 21,314,000—a decline of 1,521,000.

During that period, however, federal government employment actually increased while state and local employment declined. From February to May of last year, federal employment climbed by 14,000, rising from 2,863,000 to 2,877,000. During that same February-to-May period, state government employment dropped from 5,303,000 to 5,031,000—a decline of 272,000. Also during that same February-to-May period, local government employment dropped from 14,669,000 to 13,406,000—a decline of 1,263,000.

Even with the significant decline in government employment that occurred when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, government employment is still up 1,020,000 in this century, rising from 20,571,000 in January 2000 to the current 21,591,000.

“Employment in local government education increased by 31,000 in April but is 611,000 lower than in February 2020,” said the Bureau of Labor Statistics in its April employment report released today. “Federal government employment increased by 9,000 over the month.”

The business and economic reporting of is funded in part with a gift made in memory of Dr. Keith C. Wold.

mrc merch