Three-quarters of councils plan to make redundancies this year, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
A survey of more than 750 employers across all sectors found 77% of local government leaders intended to make redundancies in the first three months of 2011.
About 30% of redundancies in the public sector this year are expected to be compulsory. This is compared with 80% of those in the private and voluntary sector.
The average cost of making a public sector employee redundant, £29,400, is more than four times that of a private sector employee (£7,800), the CIPD also revealed.
The institute said the results of its survey showed the Office for Budget Responsibility had been optimistic in its forecast that the total number of people in work will be 100,000 higher at the end of 2011 than at the end of last year.
What do you think? Join the debate on CareSpace
Keep up to date with the latest developments in social care. Sign up to our daily and weekly emails