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, Missouri has the tenth most productive state and local government workforce in the country.
As shown in Chart 1, for state and local government employment, Missouri ranks just at the national average with 16.3 employees for every 100 employees in the private sector—this is just below the national average of 16.4 and is the 31st highest ratio in the country.
As shown in Chart 2, for state and local government compensation, Missouri ranks low with government employees earning only 4 percent more than those in the private sector—this is significantly below the national average of 13 percent and is the 12th lowest compensation ratio in the country.
Both wages and salaries and benefits contribute to Missouri’s low government compensation ratio. As shown in Chart 3, for state and local wages and salaries, Missouri employees earn -15 percent less than those in the private sector—the 7th lowest wages and salaries ratio in the country and below than the national average of -8 percent.
As shown in Chart 4, for state and local benefits (pensions, health insurance, etc.), Missouri employees earn 94 percent more than those in the private sector which is -20 percent lower than the national average of 117 percent and is the 28th 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 Missouri.
The Missouri counties with the highest local government employment ratios include: Schuyler County (84.7), Scotland County (82), and Putnam County (68.2). The Missouri counties with the lowest local government employment ratios include: St. Louis County (7.5), Taney County (7.8), and Cape Girardeau County (7.9).
The Missouri counties with the highest local government compensation ratios include: Washington County (83 percent), Scotland County (65 percent), and Dallas County (65 percent). The Missouri counties with the lowest local government compensation ratios include: Ralls County (-15 percent), Caldwell County (-11 percent), and Callaway County (-9 percent).
Overall, it is Missouri’s low government compensation ratio, especially driven by a low wages and salaries ratio, which is the primary source of the good government workforce metric.
J. Scott Moody has nearly 20 years experience 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 the American Conservative Union Foundation, Federalism In Action, Tax Foundation, Heritage Foundation, and The Maine Heritage Policy Center.