Tag Archives: new york city local government employment

New York Local Government Employment: 1990 to 2017

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released annual average Current Employment Survey data for 2017 this week, and rebenchmarked prior data to the latest unemployment insurance tax records, something it does every March.   The news was good for metro New York. Its total employment for December 2017 was 57,600 higher than had been reported prior to the adjustment, and its increase from the prior December was 22,900 greater.   For New York City alone, the December 2017 estimate of total employment was 25,400 higher, and the change over the year was 3,500 greater. The greatest source of error in this data is an unexpected number of jobs in new businesses, since these cannot be surveyed and must be estimated.

With the 2017 data out, I’ve repeated my charts of local government employment for New York City and the rest of New York State. The charts show that prior trends are continuing, with less local government employment relative to private sector employment. Mostly because more and more tax dollars are going to debts and retirement benefits for those no longer working, rather than workers still on the job and producing public services. For that reason New York City faces fiscal issues, and New York State and the MTA face budget deficits, even though New York City has added an incredible 500,000-plus private sector jobs over five years.

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State and Local Government Employment in 2002 and 2014: Health Care, Social Services and Housing

Health care and social assistance, along with payments to individuals, account for the largest share of government spending for the federal, state and local governments combined. They are distinguished from other government functions in two important ways. First, most of the funding comes from the federal government, even for programs that are administered by states, cities and counties. And second, most of the work is done by private, often non-profit organizations under contract or voucher systems, rather than by public employees.

This is the fifth post in a series on state and local government employment for FY 2002 to FY 2014, based on data from the Governments Division of the U.S. Census Bureau. Data on private employment in sectors substantially funded by government programs was also included in the analysis, and will be particularly important for this post. New York State in general, and New York City in particular, have had far more spending in these categories than most other places. This is explained in part by the state’s Medicaid program, the most extensive and expensive in the country, and in part by New York City’s relatively high poverty rate, although that gap is closing. And in part by New York’s virtually unique commitment to public intervention in the multifamily housing market, rather than just in subsidies for suburban expansion. The high level of spending on NYC health care, social services and housing, combined with continued high poverty and high housing costs in the city, has, over the years, raised questions about how much value has been received for the tax dollar. While employment data cannot answer those questions, it can provide some insights.

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