California's shrinking public workforce

If you’re one of those people who likes to blame California’s public workers for the state’s problems, Stephen Levy of the Center for the Continuing Study of the California Economy has good news for you. California’s public workforce, which has long ranked among the smallest in the nation relative to population, shrank even further from 2007 to 2011.

The ratio of California state and local employees per 10,000 residents fell by 7 percent in that period; the ratio of K-12 school employers fell by 11 percent. These numbers are Census Bureau estimates for March 2011. Given the continuing budget cuts and workforce reductions by the state government, cities, and school districts over the last 18 months, the current numbers are far lower.

Which means that if you are one of those people who’d like the police to investigate and capture car thieves or who’d like the fire truck to arrive quickly in an emergency or who’d like your child’s school to have a library where she can research her homework or a counselor to guide her through applying to college—well, chances are that you are out of luck.