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More RI Government Jobs Lost than in Any Other State

Posted on August 24, 2009

More RI government jobs have been lost than government jobs in any other state.

A recent report from the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government found that state and local government jobs in Rhode Island decreased by 3.5 percent from June 2008 to June of this year. This is the highest rate of government job loss in the entire country.

Nevada had the second-most cuts, eliminating 2.9 percent of state and local government jobs. Maine saw its government jobs decline by 2.2 percent, while Arizona and South Carolina both saw their government jobs decline 2.1 percent. These were the only states to cut more than 2 percent of public jobs.

Rhode Island cut 5.7 percent of its state government jobs during that period, second only to Arizona, which cut 8.6 percent of its state government jobs. Cities and towns in the state lost 2.5 percent of their local government jobs, second to Nevada, which cut 3.3 percent of its local government jobs.

A total of 16 states lost government workers during the year. Eastern states and those with lower housing prices were effected the most. The nation as a whole has added 110,000 state and local government jobs since December 2007, which is considered as the beginning of the recession, while the private sector has lost 6.9 million jobs.

Overall, Rhode Island lost 4.7 percent of its private-sector jobs during the yearlong period, and 20 other states experienced bigger declines in private employment. Rhode Island currently has the second-highest unemployment rate in the nation, at 12.7 percent, and is second only to Michigan.

Throughout the country, state and local government employment accounted for 22.6 million jobs, or 17 percent of total employment, during June. Of those jobs, 11 percent are in local government, 3.9 percent are in state government and 2.2 percent are in federal government job.

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