Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows state and local government wages grew 1.1 percent in 2012, while private-sector wages increased 1.7 percent. The Rockefeller Institute of Government says state and local government jobs have been reduced by 681,000 nationwide since August 2008. Those are actually encouraging statistics. Why? They suggest government has been forced to become more efficient. This focus should be maintained. The need to provide competitive pay doesn't negate the need for structural workforce reforms and efficiency measures that are routine in the private sector.