As we continue emerging from the Great Recession, researchers are beginning to delve deeper into its impacts into public sector job security. Unlike previous recessions, it appears, public sector employees suffered a loss of job security, although job losses in the public sector were less severe than those of the private sector.
This new research continues a dialogue that compares the benefits of being employed in the public versus private sectors. Oftentimes, people highlight the generous benefits packages that make public sector employment comparable to private sector jobs, despite the disparity in pay. Now, The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College has been able to quantify how much additional job security public sector employees enjoy.
In the latest recession, after adjusting for education and other characteristics, public sector employees were 2 percent less likely to lose their jobs during a downturn. This was a change from previous recessions where the gap between public and private job losses were even greater. One chart in the brief shows that in previous recessions in 1990 and 2001, public sector employment simply stagnated without serious decline.
Another difference noted in the brief is that job losses in the public sector appear slower to recover than those in the private sector. While employment levels for privately employed individuals are increasing, there continues to be a net increase in the unemployment level for public sector employees.
Read the full brief at the Center for Retirement Research.