WASHINGTON — Pennsylvania, Michigan and Washington shed government jobs last month, a result of shrinking state tax revenue.

State and local government jobs have traditionally provided a haven during economic downturns. But as states have struggled to close growing budget gaps, job cuts have spread.

That trend emerges from data on a dozen states that have released their employment figures in advance of a federal report today on state joblessness for February.

In Michigan, where the unemployment rate is 14.1 percent, the nation’s highest, government jobs at all levels fell by 5,000. They accounted for one-third of the state’s job losses.

Pennsylvania lost 2,200 government jobs. Minnesota lost 1,900 and Massachusetts 1,500.

Washington state shed 900 government jobs in February and Wisconsin lost 2,100, including 1,600 at the local level.

Economists are pointing to the states’ budget problems as a potential threat to the economic recovery. In addition to job cuts, states are reducing services and raising taxes to close their deficits.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal think tank, estimated last month that 45 states have cut spending and more than 30 have raised taxes.

The Great Recession has caused state tax receipts to fall by a record amount, the center said.


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