The number of state employees let go this year was down dramatically compared to 2011, according to a report from the State Auditor's Office. But that’s mainly because so many people lost their jobs last year, after lawmakers slashed the two-year state budget by $14 billion.
Those cuts led to a round of government layoffs: 1,225 people lost their jobs last year as the result of a "reduction in force," the bureaucratic term used to label job cuts caused by budget reductions. This year, that number was 96. A lot of people were fired for other reasons, but the number of state employees "involuntarily" laid off still dropped by more than 15 percent compared to last year.
The turnover rate not including layoffs and retirements was 10 percent in 2012. That's a closely watched number because those layoffs could have been prevented, possibly saving the state costs associated with hiring and training replacements. The rate of 10 percent was actually up from the rate of nine percent in 2011.
So why are people quitting? Non-retiring state employees who left their jobs voluntarily offered two main reasons: They found better pay and benefits elsewhere, or they couldn’t stand their working conditions. Job categories with the highest turnover included nurses and correctional officers.
The state agency with the highest turnover rate was the Department of Aging and Disability Services. Thirty-three percent of DADS employees left their jobs this year. More than half of those were voluntary resignations. The agency was forced to reduce spending by $31 million in 2011, the Texas Tribune reported, resulting in cuts to critical services such as speech therapy and physical therapy.