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, Florida has the tenth least productive state and local government workforce in the country.
As shown in Chart 1, for state and local government employment, Florida has 13.8 employees for every 100 employees in the private sector—this is -16 percent below the national average of 16.4 and is the 5th lowest ratio in the country.
However, as shown in Chart 2, for state and local government compensation, Florida ranks very poorly with government employees earning 22 percent more than those in the private sector—this is a whopping 77 percent higher than the national average of 13 percent and is the 7th highest compensation ratio in the country.
As shown in Chart 3, for state and local wages and salaries, Florida’s employees earn 2 percent more than those in the private sector—the 8th highest wages and salaries ratio in the country and higher than the national average of -8 percent.
As shown in Chart 4, for state and local benefits (pensions, health insurance, etc.), Florida’s employees earn 128 percent more than those in the private sector—this is 10 percent higher than the national average of 117 percent and is the 11th highest benefit ratio in the country.
Of course, efficiency for local government is more usefully measured on a more local scale. As such, we have also calculated the employment and compensations ratios of local government workers for every county in Florida.
The Florida counties with the highest local government employment ratios include: Union County (47.3), Holmes County (39.3), and Gilchrist County (37.9). The Florida counties with the lowest local government employment ratios include: Duval County (6.3), Orange County (7.1), and Sarasota County (7.8).
The Florida counties with the highest local government compensation ratios include: Monroe County (67 percent), Hendry County (66 percent), and Charlotte County (61 percent). The Florida counties with the lowest local government compensation ratios include: Union County (-20 percent), Hamilton (-14 percent), and Taylor County (-1 percent).
Overall, it is Florida’s very high government compensation, driven by both wages and salaries and benefits, that is the primary source of the poor government workforce metric.
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.