Throughout 2020, media accounts were filled with stories about private sector job losses, layoffs, and bankruptcies. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), private sector companies employed 7 million fewer workers at the end of 2020 than they had at the start of it, a 6% decline.
On a proportional basis, the job losses were actually larger in the public sector, especially in public education. The same BLS data show that employment fell by 8% at public K-12 schools and 11% in public higher education.
When Chad Aldeman dug into the data, he found that education jobs weren’t “lost” so much as not yet filled – and that has implications for recovery efforts as Congress contemplates the next round of federal aid.