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Colorado’s State and Local Government Workforce is the Second “Most Productive” in 2016

Dec 07, 2017


There are two major elements to look at when examining a state’s state and local government workforce—the number of employees and the level of their pay. In this analysis, each element is measured relative to the national average and summed together to obtain an overall measure of workforce productivity. Based on this state and local government workforce productivity index, Colorado has the second most productive state and local government workforce in the country.

 

Click here to view our full government workforce data app with details by state, by county, level of government, and over time.

 

 

In 2016, #Colorado had the second most productive state and local government workforce in the country http://bit.ly/2BDEhpN @keypolicydata #COpolitics #COleg #COsen #COgov (click to tweet)

 

As shown in Chart 1, for state and local government employment in 2016, Colorado employed 17 employees for every 100 employees in the private sector (employment ratio) which is 9 percent above the national average of 15.7 and is the 22nd highest ratio in the country.

 

 Chart 1 Colorado State and Local Government Employees per 100 Private Sector Employees Rank 2016.jpg

 

In 2016, #Colorado state & local #government employed 17 for every 100 employed in private sector—the 22nd highest ratio in the country and 9 percent above US average http://bit.ly/2BDEhpN @keypolicydata #COpolitics #COleg #COsen #COgov (click to tweet)

 

Additionally, Colorado’s employment ratio has been decreasing. As shown in Chart 2, between 1969 and 2016, the employment ratio decreased by -17 percent to 17 in 2016 from 20.4 in 1969. This decrease is in contrast to the national average which increased by 2 percent to 15.7 in 2016 from 15.4 in 1969.

 

 Chart 2 Colorado State and Local Employment Ratio vs. U.S. Average 1969 to 2016.JPG

 

However, as shown in Chart 3, for state and local government compensation in 2016, government employees earned -5 percent less than those in the private sector (compensation ratio) which is significantly lower than the national average of 14 percent and is the 2nd lowest compensation ratio in the country.

 

 Chart 3 Colorado State and Local Government Compensation as a Percent of the Private Sector Rank 2016.jpg

 

In 2016, #Colorado state & local #government compensation was -5% lower than in the private sector—the 2nd lowest ratio in the country and well below US average http://bit.ly/2BDEhpN @keypolicydata #COpolitics #COleg #COsen #COgov (click to tweet)

 

Additionally, Colorado’s compensation ratio has been decreasing. As shown in Chart 4, between 1969 and 2016, the compensation ratio decreased by -1 percentage points to -5 percent in 2016 from -4 percent in 1969. This decrease is in contrast to the national average which increased by 15 percentage points to 14 percent in 2016 from -1 percent in 1969.

  

 Chart 4 Colorado State and Local Compensation Ratio vs. U.S. Average 1969 to 2016.JPG

 

As shown in Chart 5, both wages and salaries and benefits contribute to Colorado’s low government compensation ratio. For state and local wages and salaries in 2016, Colorado employees earn -13 percent less than those in the private sector which is the 13th lowest wages and salaries ratio in the country and significantly lower than the national average of -8 percent.

 

 Chart 5 Colorado Components of State and Local Compensation Ratio 1969 to 2016.JPG

 

For state and local benefits in 2016, Colorado employees earn 40 percent more than those in the private sector which is -68 percent lower than the national average of 127 percent and is the lowest benefit ratio in the country.

 

 

Click here to view our full government workforce data app with details by state, by county, level of government, and over time.

 

Of course, efficiency for local government helps to be 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 Colorado.

 

The Colorado counties with the highest local government employment ratios include:

  • Baca County, CO (132.5)
  • Kiowa County, CO (109.6)
  • Sedgwick County, CO (79.4)
  • Costilla County, CO (78.5)
  • Bent County, CO (71)
  • Dolores County, CO (70.6)
  • Crowley County, CO (64)
  • Rio Blanco County, CO (59.3)
  • Washington County, CO (58.7)
  • Conejos County, CO (57.7)

The Colorado counties with the lowest local government employment ratios include:

  • Routt County, CO (12.6)
  • Summit County, CO (12.2)
  • Mesa County, CO (11.4)
  • Larimer County, CO (11.4)
  • Douglas County, CO (11.1)
  • Boulder County, CO (10.6)
  • Eagle County, CO (10.1)
  • Arapahoe County, CO (9.6)
  • Gilpin County, CO (9.2)
  • Denver County, CO (8.8)

The Colorado counties with the highest local government compensation ratios include:

  • San Juan County, CO (63 percent)
  • Archuleta County, CO (62 percent)
  • Grand County, CO (38 percent)
  • Montrose County, CO (30 percent)
  • Gunnison County, CO (28 percent)
  • Chaffee County, CO (28 percent)
  • Delta County, CO (28 percent)
  • Prowers County, CO (24 percent)
  • Summit County, CO (21 percent)
  • Gilpin County, CO (20 percent)

The Colorado counties with the lowest local government compensation ratios include:

  • Elbert County, CO (-14 percent)
  • Kiowa County, CO (-16 percent)
  • Arapahoe County, CO (-17 percent)
  • Morgan County, CO (-17 percent)
  • Moffat County, CO (-18 percent)
  • Cheyenne County, CO (-18 percent)
  • Douglas County, CO (-22 percent)
  • Rio Blanco County, CO (-23 percent)
  • Washington County, CO (-32 percent)
  • Crowley County, CO (-40 percent)

 

Overall, it is Colorado’s low state and local compensation ratio, driven by both low wages and salaries and benefits, that is responsible for Colorado having the 2nd best state and local government workforce productivity index.

 

Read more about the "government workforce productivity Index" methodology here.

 

Click here to view our full government workforce data app with details by state, by county, level of government, and over time.

 

 

Finally, don’t forget to watch our exclusive time-lapse video of our state and local government workforce productivity index over the last 47 years! See if your state has been above or below the national average?

 

 



J. Scott Moody

Scott has nearly 20 years of experience as a public policy economist. He is the author, co-author and editor of over 180 studies and books. His professional experience also includes positions at the American Conservative Union Foundation, Granite Institute, Federalism In Action, Maine Heritage Policy Center, Tax Foundation, and Heritage Foundation.


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