and Local Government
and local governments provide their constituents with vital services,
such as transportation, public safety, health care, education,
utilities, and courts. Excluding education and hospitals, State and
local governments employ about 8.3 million workers, placing them among
the largest employers in the economy. Seven out of 10 of these employees
work for local governments, such as counties, cities, special districts,
and towns. In addition, large numbers of State and local workers work in
public education -- a major part of the educational
addition to the 50 State governments, there are about 87,500 local
governments, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. These included about
3,000 county governments; 19,400 municipal governments; 16,500
townships; 13,500 school districts; and 35,100 special districts.
Illinois had the most local government units, with nearly 7,000; Hawaii
had the fewest, with 19.
In many areas of the country, citizens are served by more than one local
government unit. For example, most States have counties, which may
contain various municipalities such as cities or towns, but which also
often include unincorporated rural areas. Townships, which do not exist
in some States, may or may not contain municipalities and often consist
of suburban or rural areas. Supplementing these forms of local
government, special district government bodies are independent,
limited-purpose governmental units that usually perform a single
function or activity. For example, fire districts and ambulatory
services often are provided by a special district.
conditions vary by occupation and, in some instances, by size and
location of the state or local government. For example, chief executives
in very small jurisdictions may work less than 20 hours a week; in
larger jurisdictions, they often work more than 40 hours per week. Chief
executives in large jurisdictions work full time year round, as do most
county and city managers. Most state legislators work full time only
when in session, usually for a few months a year, and work part time the
rest of the year. Local elected officials in some small jurisdictions
work part time.
financial operations, and office and administrative support workers in
State and local government work a standard 40-hour week in an office
State and local governments, excluding education and hospitals, employed
about 8.3 million people in 2008. Seven out of 10 of these workers were
employed in local government.
Paths into this Industry
and local governments employ people in occupations found in nearly every
industry in the economy, including chief executives, managers,
engineers, computer specialists, social workers, and health technicians.
Professional and related occupations accounted for 21 percent of
employment; and management, business, and financial occupations
constituted 12 percent.
Wage and salary employment in State and local government is projected to
increase 8 percent during the 2008-18 period, slower than the 11 percent
growth projected for all sectors of the economy combined.
Job growth will stem
from the rising demand for services at the State and local levels,
particularly demand for public safety and health services. Two factors
are fueling the growth of these services: an increasing population and
the assumption of responsibility by State and local governments for some
services previously provided by the Federal Government. Despite the
increased demand for the services of State and local governments,
employment growth will continue to be dampened by budgetary constraints
due to the rapidly increasing proportion of revenues devoted to the
Medicaid program, and public resistance to tax increases. Outsourcing of
government jobs to the private sector will also limit employment in
State and local government. When economic times are good, many State and
local governments increase spending on programs and employment.
service occupations accounted for over half of all jobs in State and
local government. Most new jobs will stem from steady demand for
community and social services, health services, and protective services,
including law enforcement and fire fighting and prevention workers.
management, business, and financial occupations is projected to grow at
about the same rate as overall employment in State and local government.
Employment in office and administrative support occupations in State and
local government is expected to remain close to current levels.
Although job prospects
vary by State and region, overall prospects are expected to be
favorable. In addition to job openings from employment growth, many
opportunities will be created by workers who retire from the industry.
Prospects with managerial experience will have better opportunities as a
growing number of managers are expected to retire in the coming decade.
Currently, some States and localities are being forced to reduce
payrolls; however, as State and local budgets improve, new opportunities
Note: Some resources in this section are provided by the US Department
of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.