This graph shows government employment as a share of the civilian labor force. The blue line is local government, the red line is state government, and the green line is federal government not including the postal service. (The latter two series use the right scale.) The regular upticks for federal employment correspond to temporary census workers. The recent evolution, however, looks uncharacteristic: local and state employment are currently on a slide that has not been seen since the late 1970s. On the other hand, federal employment follows abump up, likely as a result of the stimulus program.
How this graph was created
: Select Civilian Labor Force, add the series Local Government Employment to same line, then apply the equation b/a. Repeat for the other two series, selecting the scale to the right. Adjust the sample to start in 1955. Save.
Suggested by Christian Zimmermann