Bob Roseth sent me a link to a thoughtful Atlantic article by Jordan Weissmann. Weissman argues that hiring for public schools has been hit particularly hard because of the reliance on property taxes–property tax collections having been hit particularly hard by the meltdown in the housing market. Weismann points out that local government hiring has just started to recover, while the education sector hasn’t.
I’ve grabbed the relevant data and plotted the number of workers in local government, adjusted for population, since 1985.
Over the longer-haul, education employment has been essentially flat for the last decade. The Great Slump has pushed down employment to a level not seen since 1994.