With the Wisconsin state capital virtually under siege in a debate about public-employee rights and compensation, Madison has become the battleground over the future of public employment in the United States.
Could Harrisburg be next?
Across Pennsylvania, well over a half-million workers are employed full-time by state or local government. As of 2009, more than 143,000 worked directly for state government; another 396,000 worked for one of Pennsylvania's nearly 5,000 local municipalities, school districts, public authorities and other entities.
Education is far and away the largest generator of full-time employment at both the state and local level: More than half of all public workers are engaged in that field. Below that come police officers and correction officials, followed by workers in social services, transportation and other fields.
The graphics below break down the public workforce by major function: The larger the word in each graphic, the more public employees work within that field. The data comes from the Census Bureau's Annual Survey of Governments; the graphic was produced with the help of IBM's Word Cloud Generator.