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, Maryland has the thirteenth least productive state and local government workforce in the country.
As shown in Chart 1, for state and local government employment, Maryland has 16.1 employees for every 100 employees in the private sector—this is -2 percent below the national average of 16.4 and is the 16th lowest ratio in the country.
However, as shown in Chart 2, for state and local government compensation, Maryland ranks poorly with government employees earning 19 percent more than those in the private sector—this is a whopping 51 percent higher than the national average of 13 percent and is the 13th highest compensation ratio in the country.
As shown in Chart 3, for state and local wages and salaries, Maryland’s employees earn -1 percent less than those in the private sector—this is the 14th 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.), Maryland’s employees earn 124 percent more than those in the private sector—this is 6 percent higher than the national average of 117 percent and is the 12th 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 Maryland.
The Maryland counties with the highest local government employment ratios include: Somerset County (24.6), Calvert County (20.7), and Charles County (20.2). The Maryland counties with the lowest local government employment ratios include: Talbot County (8), Baltimore City (9), and Baltimore County (9.2).
The Maryland counties with the highest local government compensation ratios include: Caroline County (111 percent), Worcester County (81 percent), and Charles County (56 percent). The Maryland counties with the lowest local government compensation ratios include: Howard County (2 percent), Anne Arundel County (7 percent), and St Mary’s County (7 percent).
Overall, despite having a lower-than-average government employment rate in the country, it is Maryland’s very high government compensation ratio, driven by both a high salaries and wages ratio and benefits ratio, which 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.