Four Charts about Wisconsin’s Public Sector

Monday, February 1, 2016 at 8:44 AM by

1. Compared to other states, Wisconsin has a lean public sector

Wisconsin had 4.4 percent fewer state and local government employees than the national average given our population size, according to a new analysis from the Wisconsin Budget Project. Wisconsin had a leaner public sector than all but 11 states.

 Wisconsin has fewer public employees than most other states


2. The number of public employees in Wisconsin has declined over the last decade

Current levels of public employment in Wisconsin are significantly lower than they were a decade ago, relative to our population size. The number of public employees per Wisconsin resident has fallen about nine percent since 2001, as shown in the chart.

Number of public employees in Wisconsin has fallen over time


3. There are nearly three times as many local government employees in Wisconsin than there are state employees

There were 207,000 full-time equivalent employees working in local government in Wisconsin in 2014, compared to 72,000 in state government.

Most public employees are at the local level

4. Most public employees in Wisconsin work in education

Six out of ten government employees work in education, mostly in K-12 schools. A smaller number of employees work in higher education.

There are also significant concentrations of state and local government employees working in health and human services, police and fire, corrections, and transportation.


Most public employees in Wisconsin work in education

For more about public employees in Wisconsin, read our analysis: “Wisconsin’s Public Sector is Leaner than Most States’.”

Tamarine Cornelius


One Response to “Four Charts about Wisconsin’s Public Sector”

  1. Jerry says:

    All we’ve heard from Walker and the Republican legislators is that overpaid and over benefited public employees were the cause of the budget problems that required Act 10. Looking at these charts those claims weren’t truthful as most of us tried to explain to the people of Wisconsin. All of Walker’s disparaging and denigrating language directed at public employees was not based in fact and were lies designed to turn people against public employees to support his hostile actions. It was all for one reason; to destroy public employee unions by turning people against their public servants in classic “DIVIDE and Conquer!” Later in his reign of terror he did the same thing to private unions. In the process he has driven Wisconsin’s economy, education and environment in to the tank. We are now a low wage, low jobs, low opportunity state with poverty and economic hardship for most becoming the norm.