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After Two Recessions, A Slimmed-Down City Staff

This article is more than 7 years old.

Two recessions in the last dozen years have forced greater efficiency on the private sector.

A new report (not currently available online) from the Boston Municipal Research Bureau suggests the city government is making do with less, too.

The bureau's annual look at city employment, released Thursday, finds the city has added 359 jobs — a 2.2 percent increase — between January 2012 and January 2013.

But the report found a 6 percent reduction in city-funded employees — that's 1,038 jobs — over the last 11 years.

Samuel R. Tyler, president of the bureau, says better use of technology has helped make up for some of the decline in manpower. The city has also trimmed some services.

The recession that started in late 2001 spurred a first wave of job cuts in 2002 and 2003. And the recession of 2008 brought another series of layoffs over the following three years.

The data shows the city worked to protect the school, police and fire departments from the worst of the cuts.

The city's three largest departments represent 77 percent of the city payroll as of Jan. 1, 2013, but they have sustained only 36 percent of the job cuts since 2002.

Of the remaining departments, the city's libraries took the biggest hit — losing 199 jobs between 2002 and 2012.

Even as the city has cut jobs, employee costs have steadily risen — driven in part by escalating health care costs.

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