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, Illinois has the twenty-second most productive state and local government workforce in the country.
As shown in Chart 1, for state and local government employment, Illinois has 14.8 employees for every 100 employees in the private sector—this is -10 percent below the national average of 16.4 and is the 6th lowest ratio in the country.
As shown in Chart 2, for state and local government compensation, Illinois government employees earning 11 percent more than those in the private sector—this is below the national average of 13 percent and is the 27th highest compensation ratio in the country.
As shown in Chart 3, for state and local wages and salaries, Illinois employees earn -7 percent less than those in the private sector—this is the 26th lowest wages and salaries ratio in the country and above than the national average of -8 percent.
As shown in Chart 4, for state and local benefits (pensions, health insurance, etc.), Illinois employees earn 99 percent more than those in the private sector—this is -15 percent lower than the national average of 117 percent and is the 23rd 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 Illinois.
The Illinois counties with the highest local government employment ratios include: Johnson County (75.7), Pulaski County (73.7), and Union County (64.3). The Illinois counties with the lowest local government employment ratios include: Effingham County (7.8), DuPage County (8.9), and Adams County (9.7).
The Illinois counties with the highest local government compensation ratios include: Jersey County (48 percent), Calhoun County (44 percent), and Whiteside County (43 percent). The Illinois counties with the lowest local government compensation ratios include: Tazewell County (-30 percent), Putnam County (-28 percent), and Lake County (-27 percent).
Overall, it is Illinois’s low state and local government employment ratio, 6th lowest in the country, 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.