State and local employees have not been as hard hit as the general economy. At 19 million strong, this workforce comprises about 14.6 percent of total U.S. non-farm employment. It looks as if education workers are particularly being shielded from job cuts.
Chris Mauro, Head of U.S. Municipals Strategy at RBC Capital Markets wrote today in a privately circulated research note (emphasis mine):
[O]n a percentage basis, the state general government (non-education) sector has seen the largest decline in employment since December 2007. As of October 2011, it is down almost 6% from its recent peak.
Similarly, local education employment is currently down about 3% from the peak and has now also declined by a greater percentage than in any of the prior three recessions.
State education employment, which has historically been very recession resistant, has been growing at a moderate rate since December 2007 but, here again, the growth rate has been slower than in any of the previous three recessions.