Feature Article - June 2012
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Regional Information

A Look at Regional Trends

According to the National Association of State Budget Officers, the overall fiscal situation of states has improved, but the states' financial situation is still constrained in 2012. Total general fund spending in fiscal 2012 at the state level is still 3.1 percent less than the pre-recession high of $687 billion in fiscal 2008.

Budget cuts at the state level have added up to a $290 billion loss in public service funding, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. And, while federal aid helped to reduce the impact of spending cuts aÉs the recession initially hit, its expiration has had a dramatic effect. The result, according to the center, is that 2012 is the worst year since the downturn began for cuts in funding for services. All areas of state budgets have been affected, including elementary and secondary education, health care, higher education and human services. On a more positive note, revenues have seen some growth, and in the 12 months ending in June 2011, state revenues grew by 8.3 percent.

Such cuts trickle down to many of our survey respondents working at both the state and local level in publicly funded schools and universities, state agencies such as state parks, and at the municipal level for park departments and so forth.

While we do not break down State of the Industry Report survey responses on a state-by-state basis, looking at the data according to region can provide some useful insights.

The distribution of survey respondents fairly closely resembles the U.S. Census distribution of population by region. The largest exceptions are found in the Midwest, which was home to 28.7 percent of our survey respondents, compared to just 21.7 percent of the U.S. population in the 2010 Census, and in the South Central region, which was home to 13.6 percent of survey respondents vs. 17.7 percent of the U.S. population in 2010. (See Figure 28.)

The types of organizations—public, private nonprofit and private for-profit—that respondents work for differed slightly depending on the region in which they found themselves. For example, public organizations, such as public schools and park departments, were most prominent in the West, where 72.4 percent of respondents said they worked for public organizations. They were followed by the South Atlantic states, where 68.1 percent of respondents worked for public organizations. Respondents from the Northeast reported the smallest percentage of public organizations, with 63.5 percent of Northeastern respondents indicating that they worked for public organizations.

Private nonprofit organizations, such as YMCAs, were most predominant in the South Central states and in the Midwest. In both of these regions, nearly a quarter (23.4 percent and 23.3 percent, respectively) of respondents indicated that they work for private nonprofits. This compares with just 12.7 percent of respondents in the West.

Private for-profit organizations were most likely to be found in the West, where 13.2 percent of respondents worked for such organizations, and in the Northeast, with 12.8 percent. These organizations were least likely to be found in the Midwest, where just 8.8 percent of respondents indicated they worked for private for-profit organizations.