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State and Local Jobs May Take Until 2026 to Recoup Pandemic Losses

  • Payrolls still about 650,000 below February 2020 peak
  • ‘Governments are definitely trying to hire’: Moody’s economist

The sluggish recovery in US state and city employment has left payrolls hundreds of thousands of positions below pre-pandemic levels, a deficit that may take years to plug as the private sector lures away workers.

State and local payrolls rose to about 19.4 million last month, the highest since March 2020, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Friday. However, that’s still roughly 650,000 less than the peak from right before Covid-19 struck, even after states and municipalities received hundreds of billions of dollars in federal stimulus to ease the pandemic’s blow.