- Associated Press - Thursday, January 7, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) - Gov. Doug Ducey’s state hiring freeze continues to shrink the number of state employees and is now expected to save taxpayers nearly $21 million in the current budget year.

Figures released by Ducey’s office Tuesday show the number of state employees has dropped by 3.6 percent in the year since he took office and imposed the freeze for non-essential employees. There were 34,488 state workers as of Nov. 25, down from 35,733 when he imposed the freeze on Jan. 7, 2015.

The hiring freeze was designed to cut government spending and bureaucracy. The action doesn’t apply to hiring needed for law enforcement, child safety or other public safety agencies.

The freeze was expected to save more than $18 million in the budget year that began July 1.

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