First the housing market tanked. Then the financial sector imploded. Then consumer spending fizzled. And so went the recession, as economic pillars tumbled one by one and took employment down with them.

Now the job market nationwide is recovering. But downsizing among nonprofits and state and local governments, “continues unabated,” according to the Chicago outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

“Of course, the government and nonprofit sector is the one area that continues to struggle even as other segments of the economy enjoy the fruits of recovery,” said the firm’s chief executive John Challenger in the company’s April report on announced job cuts. “While the federal government remains relatively strong and is actually adding workers, state and local governments are under immense budgetary pressure resulting from a lethal combination of higher costs and shrinking tax revenue.”

Long Island had 1,200 fewer state government jobs in March, compared with March 2009, according to the latest state Labor Department data. But the local government sector had 1,700 more jobs in the same time period.

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Economic experts, however, have expressed concern about what effect Albany’s belt-tightening could have on local government employment.

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