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, Ohio has the eighteenth least productive state and local government workforce in the country.
As shown in Chart 1, for state and local government employment, Ohio has 14.9 employees for every 100 employees in the private sector—this is -9 percent below the national average of 16.4 and is the 7th lowest ratio in the country.
However, as shown in Chart 2, for state and local government compensation, Ohio ranks poorly with government employees earning 18 percent more than those in the private sector—this is 46 percent higher than the national average of 13 percent and is the 16th highest compensation ratio in the country.
As shown in Chart 3, for state and local wages and salaries, Ohio’s employees earn -2 percent less than those in the private sector—this is the 15th 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.), Ohio’s employees earn 110 percent more than those in the private sector—this is -6 percent lower than the national average of 117 percent and is the 17th 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 Ohio.
The Ohio counties with the highest local government employment ratios include: Morrow County (39.7), Meigs County (37.5), and Vinton County (33.2). The Ohio counties with the lowest local government employment ratios include: Hamilton County (7.2), Hancock County (7.3), and Franklin County (8.1).
The Ohio counties with the highest local government compensation ratios include: Athens County (54 percent), Fairfield County (50 percent), and Erie County (48 percent). The Ohio counties with the lowest local government compensation ratios include: Harrison County (-15 percent), Pike County (-10 percent), and Noble County (-8 percent).
Overall, it is Ohio’s high government compensation ratio, especially driven by the high wages and salaries ratio, that is the primary source of the poor government workforce metric. However, Ohio’s ranking would be worse if not for the offsetting employment ratio (7th lowest).
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.