A detailed assessment of employment trends in the public sector from 1979 to 2001 is provided. Particular attention is paid to the relative level of public sector employment is Wisconsin . The analysis also examines the relationship between the size of state and local government and overall employment growth from 1979-2001. Results suggest that growth in total employment and employment in the public sector are highly correlated; higher shares of total employment in the public sector in the beginning of the period are not correlated with subsequent growth rates; but a state that sees the public sector grow faster then overall employment growth tends to be associated with slower overall growth. In addition, when measuring the size of the public sector in terms of employment, Wisconsin does not appear to be out of balance when compared to other states. Employment growth in state government over the period 1979-2001 is one of the lowest in the country and employment growth at the local government level is slightly above the national average. Detailed changes in employment by category are also examined for the US and Wisconsin from 1993 to 2002. These data suggest that there has been significant disinvestment in several areas that contribute to the overall quality of life in Wisconsin which may in turn hinder the future potential for economic growth and development.


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