State and Local Government Employment Expected to Grow

Local and state government employment is expected to grow significantly over the next decade, despite technological advances that will cause some industries to shrink, according to a recent report released by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence.
The number of local government jobs is expected to increase 7.4 percent by 2026, while the number of state government jobs is projected to grow by 3.8 percent.
Employment levels still aren't as high as they were before the Great Recession, but they are continuing to recover as employers are far less likely to implement layoffs and hiring freezes, according to the report.
Though the number of drivers of light-duty vehicles are expected to decline as autonomous vehicles enter the scene, and the researchers say clerical positions will decrease with computerization, jobs in many other areas will experience growth over the next decade.
On a local level, the heavy vehicle maintenance industry is predicted to see the largest increase – rising 15 percent – in jobs, followed by human resources and subway and streetcar operations.
In state governments, jobs in fleet maintenance, scientific fields and neighborhood services are expected to increase.
Notably, the number of state information technology positions is only expected to increase by 0.5 percent from 2016 to 2026, with the biggest growth in software developer applications and the biggest declines in computer programming and computer operator positions. The authors write how striking this finding is, given the vital role technology plays in society.


Information technology positions, which are projected to increase by 2 percent in local government, are increasingly difficult to fill, the authors note. Some government agencies have turned to short-term contracting to fill the gap.
State and local governments are also struggling to fill policing, firefighting, nursing and engineering positions as they compete with private sector jobs.
Governments will still have high demand for police and fire/EMS personnel, but not for corrections workers, though this could change based on new incarceration policies, according to the report.
The report also explores how state and local governments can effectively recruit candidates to fill their many job openings. Some jurisdictions are adapting their human resource strategies to not only fill these openings but to ensure their workforce has the talent to be successful in the changing economy, the report says.
For example, many offices are using social media and online advertisements to target young applicants.
Others have developed programs to attract and train candidates. Minneapolis, for example, created an 18-month pathway program where individuals can work to become a police officer. The program aims to increase the police force's talent pool and share of women and minorities.
In Denver, current employees who apply for another position and aren't selected can work with industrial psychologists to review skills where they need improvement.
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