Monday, February 13, 2012

Government Employment by State

Public employees hold political power in part because there are so many of them. But there has been some decline lately, as a recent post notedGallup reports:
Nearly 3 out of every 10 workers in Hawaii (29.7%), Alaska (29.6%), and the District of Columbia (29.1%) work for federal, state, or local government, at a time when government employment is declining nationally at all levels. Pennsylvania has the lowest percentage of government workers, at 11.8%.

The findings are from Gallup Daily tracking interviews conducted with 129,476 U.S. workers throughout 2011, and include all workers who say they work for government -- whether federal, state, local, or unspecified. Maryland and Virginia, which neighbor the nation's capital, are fourth and fifth, respectively, in total government employment. Nationwide, the states with above-average levels of government employment are mixed geographically, while, the states with the below-average levels of government employment are all in the Northeast or the Midwest. In no state do fewer than 1 in 10 workers work for government.
Overall, 16.3% of U.S. workers Gallup surveyed in 2011 said they work for government, down from 17.2% in 2010 and 17.3% in 2009. This is consistent with the decline of 280,000 government jobs the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported for 2011. The overall decline in Gallup's data was distributed equally across federal, state, and local government, with a nationwide decline of 0.3 percentage points at each level.
State government employed the highest percentage of government workers in the U.S. overall in 2011, at 6.5%, followed by local government at 5.1% and the federal government at 4.4%. The remaining 0.3% of government workers did not specify which level of government they worked for. Both state and local government employment have trended downward since 2009, while federal government employment decreased in 2011 after increasing in 2010.
Also note that public employees have a much higher union membership rate than their private-sector counterparts.