The scaling in the chart makes a big difference. Here’s the data behind the chart, which can by found by following a link on the site that Tyler links to: http://1.usa.gov/oOQXeO. For the local government column only and April figures. (May would be better but the series runs out at April 2011.) April 2011 was at 8.3 million, about 160K less than the peak two Aprils earlier. That’s about 1.5% difference.
That is from RZO, the link and context is here. In the same comment thread, Frank Howland notes that:
K-12 enrollments fell by 0.85% from 2007 to 2009
That’s not exactly the same years and the data go only to 2009 but could it be a general trend across 2009-2011? Given that context, there is still some decline in per capita local teacher employment. Note this is a sector where there is a growing realization that quite a few of the workers should, for non-cyclical reasons, be fired anyway.
Addendum: Karl Smith has a useful graph with seasonal adjustment, coming up with somewhat different numbers.