There was good news for American workers in August—if government was their employer.

The unemployment rate for government wage and salaries workers dropped from 5.7 percent in July to 5.1 percent in August. At the same time, the number of government wage and salary workers counted as unemployed dropped by 123,000 people from 1,182,000 in July to 1,059,000 in August.

The overall national unemployment rate was 8.1 percent in August.

A year ago, in August 2011, there were 1,271,000 unemployed government wage and salary workers. So, the number of unemployed government workers has dropped by 212,000 since then.

The unemployment numbers for government workers published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics are not seasonally adjusted.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics counts someone as a government wage and salary worker if they are not in the military and they are currently employed by any level of government—local, state or federal—or they are unemployed, they are looking for work, and their last job was for any level of government.

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