Historic Levels of Government Employment in Michigan
The proportion of state and local government jobs hit a historic high in the recession and has been coming down slightly since.
In the late 90s, state and local government jobs in Michigan stayed a pretty constant 13.3 percent. It began growing in 2000 to 14.2 percent from 2002 to 2008. The 2008 recession spiked the figures to a series-high of 15.5 percent in July and August of 2009.
Since then, the number of government jobs have been decreasing slightly while private-sector jobs have increased, lowering the proportion to 14.4 percent.
But there are complicating factors when using this as a measure of the total government labor force. Privatization of substitute teaching, for example, shifted some of the government labor force from public-sector to private-sector. This was prevalent enough that government statisticians had to rework the seasonal adjustments for the “professional and business services” sector. These are still jobs at government facilities paid for through the tax system, but since a private-sector signs the paychecks, they are considered private-sector jobs.
It’s unknown whether the recent downward trend will continue. Even with the steady trend toward service privatization in Michigan’s state and local governments and the gradual recovery of the state’s private-sector, the percentage of the labor force remains at high-levels.
Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.