New Jobs Data Reflects Ongoing Fiscal Decline of Local Governments

March 5, 2021 - (2 min read)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, NLC released a new white paper on municipal job losses, “Local Governments Bear Disproportionate Brunt of Job Loss”. The brief comes just as the Bureau of Labor Statistics March 5th 2021 jobs data release shows another devastating loss in local government employment, adding to the nearly quarter million jobs in local government already lost compared to pre-pandemic general purpose local government levels.

The findings of the report show that state budget conditions have little impact on municipal job losses, which are are not turning around. Other findings include:

  • Nearly a quarter million local public sector jobs (excluding education jobs) have been cut from March through December 2020.
  • In no state are city or county governments reporting meaningful gains in employment – in 44 states local governments are reporting losses.
  • Decimated commercial property markets and outsized shares of unemployment in low to middle income jobs have disproportionately harmed local revenue streams.
  • Local governments are taking extraordinary steps to prolong employment, but short term budget maneuvers to cover losses are being exhausted.
  • Local governments are cutting jobs as a last resort to balance budgets reflecting current fiscal decline.   

America’s 19,000 cities, towns and villages are calling on Congress to swiftly pass the American Rescue Plan Act, including direct fiscal relief provided to local governments


The National League of Cities (NLC) is the voice of America’s cities, towns and villages, representing more than 200 million people across the country. NLC works to strengthen local leadership, influence federal policy and drive innovative solutions. Stay connected with NLC on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.