About 22 million people held civilian government jobs in 2012, including more than 14 million local workers, 5.1 million state workers and 2.8 million federal workers. The most common state and local government jobs are found in education, healthcare and protective services. The largest categories of federal workers are professional, administrative, technical and clerical. About 15 percent of federal jobs are in the Washington, DC, area.
Jobs in Government
Teachers and teacher assistants comprise about 18 percent of public employment. The largest occupations in state and local government include police and sheriffs, administrative support workers, correctional officers and janitors. Nursing jobs are found at all three government levels. Many federal government job opportunities involve compliance or management analysis and about 20 percent of federal government jobs are found at the US Postal Service.
Government Job Market
Since government jobs are paid for from taxes, they're always influenced by public budgets. More than 500,000 jobs in government disappeared between February 2010 and July 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says, and federal employees had their salaries frozen.
In 2011, federal government job retirements rose 25 percent, the start of the wave of anticipated retirements spurred by the aging of the Baby Boomers, the salary freeze and rising anti-government attitudes, the Partnership for Public Service says.
Total federal government jobs, including Postal Service jobs, will decline 13 percent between 2010 and 2020, the BLS predicts. However, government work at the state and local levels will grow 7 percent during that same period, the BLS says. Meanwhile, government employment outside education and hospitals will increase only 2 percent.
The mean salary for all federal, state and local government workers, except those employed in schools, the Postal Service or hospitals, was $53,580 in 2011.
The average federal government worker earned $76,231 worldwide in 2010. The mean 2011 salary for postal service clerks was $52,960; the average mail-carrier salary was $51,390.
State government jobs paid a mean of $53,180 in 2011. The mean salary for a local government job was $46,730 in 2011.