There are two major elements to look at when examining a state’s government workforce—the number of employees and the level of their pay. Each element is measured relative to the national average and summed together to obtain an overall measure of workforce productivity. By this metric, Mississippi has the twenty-fourth most productive state and local government workforce in the country.
On state and local government employment, Mississippi has 25.09 employees for every 100 employees in the private sector which is a whopping 49.6 percent above the national average of 16.77 and is the 4th highest ratio in the country.
On state and local government compensation, Mississippi government employees earn 4.8 percent more than those in the private sector—below the national average of 11.7 percent and is the 17th lowest compensation ratio in the country.
On state and local wages and salaries, Mississippi employees earn -3.9 percent less than those in the private sector—the 17th highest wages and salaries ratio in the country and above than the national average of -8.8 percent.
On state and local benefits (pensions, health insurance, etc.), Mississippi employees earn 42.9 percent more than those in the private sector which is -62.7 percent lower than the national average of 115 percent and is the 3rd lowest benefit ratio in the country.
Overall, Mississippi’s state and local government workforce metrics are a battle of extremes. On the one hand, Mississippi’s employment ratio is the 4th highest in the country, but is offset by having the 3rd lowest benefits ratio. As a result, this puts Mississippi in the middle-of-the-pack nationally.
Note: Recent data updates include significant definitional changes, especially to benefits which are now based on an accrual basis as opposed to a cash-basis. The changes currently go back to 2000 so comparisons between pre- and post-2000 data must be used with caution.
J. Scott Moody has over 18 years as a public policy economist with a specialty in tax policy and has over 180 publications. He has worked for numerous national and state-based think tanks such as Federalism In Action, Tax Foundation, Heritage Foundation, and The Maine Heritage Policy Center.