Back in late 2019, I published a tabulation of data from the employment and payroll phase of the 2017 Census of Governments. The data included full-time equivalent (full time workers plus part time workers converted into full time workers based on hours worked) state and local government employment, by function (police, parks, schools), per 100,000 residents of each area. The population data was taken from Local Area Personal Income spreadsheets from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. For the population of the rural areas of New York State as a whole, I subtracted New York City, the Downstate Suburbs, and the Upstate Urban Counties from the state total. All this sort of data usually gets revised as new information becomes available. But when the new population data was released, soon after I had completed the entire effort with spreadsheets, tables, charts and posts, what I found was a shock.
Somehow the population data for New York City had been altered – and inflated, thus reducing apparent NYC government employment per 100,000 residents. This wasn’t the usual correction. It turns out that in the old data, all the state’s counties combined didn’t add to the New York State total! Since I had gotten the population for the rural Rest of New York State by subtraction, the population of that region was underestimated by a significant percent, causing the region’s population losses, and its government employment per 100,000 residents, to be exaggerated.
I immediately published revised versions of the large spreadsheets with data for all government functions. And now, I have gone back and altered the spreadsheets on individual government functions, the tables, the charts, and the posts on those functions, as well. The changes aren’t great enough to alter any conclusions. I changed many numbers, in the tables, charts and text, but very few words. Right is right, however, and the data linked here has now been fixed for that BEA error.
Having made that effort, I have decided to publish a graphic summary of the employment and payroll phase of the 2017 Census of Governments, along with links back to the more detailed (and now corrected) posts.Continue reading