New Census Data Show Wisconsin has Lean Public Sector

Thursday, September 8, 2011 at 6:48 PM by

Wisconsin had a leaner public sector than all but 11 states in 2010, a new report by the Wisconsin Budget Project shows. Wisconsin has long had fewer state and local government employees than the national average, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

State and local government employees – including those working as teachers, corrections guards, highway workers, police officers, and firefighters – make up about one out of every seven workers in Wisconsin.

In 2010, Wisconsin had 50.5 state and local government full-time equivalent (FTEs) workers per thousand state residents, compared to 53.7 nationally. Wisconsin has had fewer government workers per capita than the national average since at least 1993, as shown in Fig. 1.

Year to year, the gap between the national public sector and that in Wisconsin varies, but with Wisconsin employment levels always below the national average. Viewed as a long term trend, the per capita number of government employees in Wisconsin has decreased over the last decade, while the national average has remained roughly the same.

The public sectors in Wisconsin and other states are facing difficult economic straits, likely leading to decreases in state and local government employment in the next few years. At the national level, that trend has started already — In July 2011 the loss of 15,000 government jobs totally offset the very small increase in private sector employment. Since January 2010, state and local government employment nationally has fallen by 482,000 jobs, which has held back the economic recovery, as the net job growth was just 1.9 million during that period.

You can read the complete analysis of Wisconsin’s state and local government employment levels here.

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