Friday, September 16, 2011

Census data: Sharp decline in Nevada higher education instructional staff

The Sun reports today on a recently published Census Bureau report on public service staffing, which finds -- unsurprisingly -- a sharp decline in all public service workforce in Nevada. Higher education faculty sustained the sharpest decline, of over 18% across the state.

Education represents the largest public employer at the local and state levels. The biggest hit was taken by higher education, whose ranks were trimmed to 10,128 positions last year, 1,174 less than in 2009 for an 11.4 percent decline. The sharpest decline was felt among professors and instructors, who went from 3,369 to 2,758, an 18.1 percent drop. Support staff fell from 8,067 to 7,370.
Note that this is based on 2010 census data, before the 2011 round of layoffs and cutbacks. As for 2011, recall that the Sun last June 30 that fewer than 40 state public sector workers had been laid off, but did not include the 161 NSHE layoffs. That is, higher education sustained more than 4 times more layoffs last year than all other state agencies combined -- after the 18% decline in full-time equivalent instructional workforce reported in the Census data!

Update: The NSHE audited financial reports for 2009 and 2010 show total state payroll and benefits actually went down $22.5 million from $950,335,000 to $927,755,000. It is unclear why the Census bureau found an $1.7 million increase in total state higher education payroll for that same period. Perhaps the payroll for Sierra Nevada College and the private, for-profit institutions grew by nearly $25 million in a year?


  1. The article went on to say that the higher education payroll increased $1.7 million from 2009 to 2010. How is that possible, given layoffs and paycuts?

  2. That $1.7 does not seem like a significant amount when the overall payroll is that big but definitely should be looked into further.