A new survey finds that "the picture is brightening" for the state and local government civil service workforce as fewer employers resort to hiring freezes and layoffs -- although they're continuing to whittle away at employee benefits costs.
About one-third of state and local governments told the non-profit Center for State & Local Government Excellence that they're freezing pay this year. That's down from 51 percent in 2012.
Just 18 percent of government employers said they're laying off workers, compared to 28 percent that axed jobs last year.
Governments have continued making changes to health and retirement benefits, with 56 percent modifying health benefits in 2013 and 44 percent altering retirement programs. The change most often cited in both areas: shifting cost from the employer to the employee through higher contributions.
Meanwhile, 22 percent of employers surveyed said their retirement-eligible employees accelerated their retirement plans this year, the same as 2012.