Census of Governments Public Employment Data: Comparative Data for NY, NJ, and the U.S.

The U.S. Census Bureau conducts a Census of Governments every five years, and a month ago released data on state and local government public employment and payroll across the nation for the 2012 census. The raw data may be found here.

I have spent much of my spare time over the past month, nearly 80 hours in all, putting the data in spreadsheets to make it readily and reasonably comparable across places. I have worked with data from the Governments Division of the U.S. Census Bureau for nearly 25 years: the source of my expertise (and past data) may be found here.

In my compilation local government employment (full time equivalent) is shown per 100,000 residents for each government function (education, police, parks), for every county in New York State and New Jersey, regions of New York State, the U.S. average, and selected other states and counties around the country. The data by county is for all local governments in each county, and is from the Bureau’s “County Area” files. Spreadsheets are included for 1992, 2002, and the most recent Census of Governments, in 2012 – years I consider to be reasonably comparable with regard to the overall economy. The monthly payroll data is per full time equivalent worker, as a percent above or below the U.S. average. Related private sector data is also included, to put these numbers in perspective.

I intend to write a series of posts complete with charts, organized by government function, comparing New York City’s local government employment and payroll with other places, over the next few weeks. But I am putting the spreadsheets and tables out now for anyone to use, including those seeking to write about other areas. Links to the spreadsheets, and an explanation of how I compiled them and what the show, may be found here on “Saying the Unsaid in New York.”