Cities see Longest Stretch of Job Growth Since Great Recession, According to Jobs Report
WASHINGTON—Local governments have experienced six consecutive months of employment growth—the longest stretch of growth since the beginning of the Great Recession—according to the May jobs report issued today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The pace of growth over the past quarter puts local governments on track to reach their post-recession employment peak by 2019. The National League of Cities released an analysis of the May jobs report, finding that while six months of growth is an early indicator that recovery is starting to take hold at the local level, slow national economic growth and continued political and policy uncertainty at the federal level can undermine progress on the local level.
"The May jobs report shows the first six-months of sustained local government job growth since the recession," said National League of Cities CEO Clarence E. Anthony. "Local government workforces fulfill critical services in the community, from police and fire protection to public health and social services to training programs. Make no mistake, these jobs, and the services they provide, took big hits during the recession, but today's numbers are a good sign that we are on the road to recovery."
Nationwide, local governments added 15,000 jobs in May and employ 14,120,000 people. December 2014 to May 2015 marks the longest period of growth in the local government workforce since the start of the recession, but local governments (excluding education) are still 195,000 jobs below their post-recession peak (December 2008) of about 6.5 million jobs. If growth for last three months stays on pace (4,600 per month), it will take between three and four years for local government employment to be restored.
"Sustained job growth over the past six months is an early indicator that recovery is starting to taking hold and that fiscal health is improving in our cities," said Christiana McFarland, research director at the National League of Cities and author of the analysis. "These improvements, however, are still tenuous and contingent on stronger growth in the broader economy."
The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.