Whether the U.S. is in the midst of an economic and jobs creation comeback may be debatable.
But when it comes to public employees working for the 50 state governments themselves, the economy certainly is brightening, and if you're looking for a new job, you may want to consider government work. At least according to a new report from Bloomberg.
Over the past five years, state and local governments reduced their workforces by a combined total of roughly half a million. But in 2013, state and municipal agencies are poised to add employees, according to projections by Moody's Analytics, the credit ratings agency. In speaking to Bloomberg, Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody's, said that he expects state governments to add a total of 220,000 new employees by the end of the 2013 calendar year.
"The bloodletting on the state- and local-government level has finally passed through," said Jim Diffley, chief U.S. regional economist for IHS Global Insight, the international economics consultancy. "They're no longer subtracting from growth."
Indeed, for some states, there is recovery. Texas, fueled by an oil and gas boom, is projected to have a surplus on par with the $8 billion record set in 2007, before the financial crisis hit, according to Bloomberg.
A Striking Turnaround
Only a few years ago, the situation appeared dire for state coffers. In a survey of recession-stricken America during the summer of 2010, Time magazine completed an analysis of local governments as a cover story, "The Broken States of America."
Nearly two-thirds of all states had been forced to order across-the-board budget cuts. There was so little money left toward paying public employees their salaries that 22 states instituted unpaid furloughs for their workers.
In a letter to congressional leaders regarding the emergency aid and stimulus package, Obama characterized the moves as enabling a new era after the worst financial crisis in 80 years.
"At this critical moment, we cannot afford to slide backwards just as our recovery is taking hold," Obama wrote back in 2010.
But despite Moody's optimism about public sector jobs, some states remain financially strapped.
According to a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonprofit, left-of-center think tank based in Washington, D.C., most states are still struggling to fund themselves. A total of 31 states entered the fiscal year 2013, which began on July 1, 2012, facing a combined budget shortfall of $55 billion.
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