How Does the Public Health Workforce Compare with the Broader Public Sector?

The state and local governmental public health workforce plays a critical role in protecting and improving the lives of the individuals it serves. As is the case with state and local employment generally, the workforce in public health is changing. Recruitment and retention of the next wave of employees presents challenges, particularly at a time of continued retirements, low unemployment, and competition from the private sector for talented graduates and other career entrants. To better understand the U.S. public health workforce, this primer describes its current size, expectations for growth, employee demographics, job tenure, and the skill sets most in demand. This description is offered against the broader backdrop of the overall state and local government sector. This briefing comes from a Center for State and Local Government Excellence (SLGE) analysis of the most recent Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey (PH WINS 2017), along with data sets from the 2017 U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of Labor - Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the SLGE workforce survey (unless otherwise noted).