Layoffs, freezes, retirements for U.S. public sector
(Reuters) - More than half of local and state employees continue to work under pay freezes, while others are accelerating their retirements or facing the prospects of layoffs as the effects of the recession linger on the public sector, according to a survey released on Wednesday.
The survey of members of the International Public Management Association for Human Resources and the National Association of State Personnel Executives, found public employees also worry about their image.
Some 73 percent of those surveyed said the "public perception of government workers" is a top concern, more those who listed staff retention, healthcare costs and workload sizes.
When revenue collapsed during the recession, state and local governments slashed spending, often laying off workers and freezing job openings. Even though the downturn officially ended in 2009, revenue is only now inching higher in some places.
The pace of public job cuts is slowing, with 28 percent of those surveyed reporting layoffs this year compared to 40 percent last year. But more than a fifth - 22 percent - said employees had accelerated their retirements.
Altogether, nearly 70 percent of those asked said their work forces are smaller than in 2008, and the leaner staffing could persist for a while, with 42 percent reporting hiring freezes.
(Reporting By Lisa Lambert; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)
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