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, Wyoming has the nineteenth least productive state and local government workforce in the country.
As shown in Chart 1, for state and local government employment, Wyoming has 28.2 employees for every 100 employees in the private sector—this is 72 percent above the national average of 16.4 and is the highest ratio in the country.
However, as shown in Chart 2, for state and local government compensation, Wyoming’s government employees earn 7 percent more than those in the private sector—this is -41 percent lower than the national average of 13 percent and is the 31st highest compensation ratio in the country.
As shown in Chart 3, for state and local wages and salaries, Wyoming’s government employees earn -7 percent less than those in the private sector—this is the 24th 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.), Wyoming’s employees earn 71 percent more than those in the private sector—this is -39 percent lower than the national average of 117 percent and is the 11th lowest 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 Wyoming.
The Wyoming counties with the highest local government employment ratios include: Big Horn County (42.7), Fremont County (39.7), and Weston County (38.4). The Wyoming counties with the lowest local government employment ratios include: Teton County (10.9), Natrona County (11.5), and Washakie County (18.4).
The Wyoming counties with the highest local government compensation ratios include: Albany County (54 percent), Teton County (40 percent), and Sheridan County (39 percent). The Wyoming counties with the lowest local government compensation ratios include: Platte County (-21 percent), Sweetwater County (-18 percent), and Uinta County (-14 percent).
Overall, it is Wyoming’s highest-in-the-country government employment ratio that is the primary source of the poor government workforce metric. However, this is partially offset by having the 11th lowest government benefit ratio in the country.
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.