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Nevada’s State and Local Government Workforce is the “Least Productive” in 2016

Dec 03, 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, Nevada has the least 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, #Nevada had the least productive state and local #government workforce in the country http://bit.ly/2BDEhpN @keypolicydata #NVleg #NVgov (click to tweet)

 

As shown in Chart 1, for state and local government employment in 2016, Nevada employed 11.7 employees for every 100 employees in the private sector (employment ratio) which is -26 percent below the national average of 15.7 and is lowest ratio in the country.

 

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

 

In 2016, #Nevada state & local #government employed 11.7 for every 100 employed in private sector—the lowest ratio in the country and -26 percent below US average http://bit.ly/2BDEhpN @keypolicydata #NVleg #NVgov (click to tweet)

 

Additionally, Nevada’s employment ratio has been declining. As shown in Chart 2, between 1969 and 2016, the employment ratio fell by -26 percent to 11.7 in 2016 from 15.8 in 1969. This is in contrast to the national average which increased by 2 percent to 15.7 in 2016 from 15.4 in 1969.

 

 Chart 2 Nevada 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, Nevada is on the other end of the spectrum with government employees earning 54 percent more than those in the private sector (compensation ratio) which is 295 percent higher than the national average of 14 percent and is the highest compensation ratio in the country. The high compensation ratio more than offsets the Nevada’s low employment ratio.

 

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

 

In 2016, #Nevada state & local #government compensation was 54% higher than in the private sector—the highest ratio in the country and 295 percent above US average http://bit.ly/2BDEhpN  @keypolicydata #NVleg #NVgov (click to tweet)

 

Additionally, Nevada’s compensation ratio has been increasing. As shown in Chart 4, between 1969 and 2016, the compensation ratio increased by 47 percentage points to 54 percent in 2016 from 6 percent in 1969. This 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 Nevada 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 Nevada’s high government compensation ratio. For state and local wages and salaries in 2016, Nevada employees earn 12 percent more than those in the private sector which is the 2nd highest wages and salaries ratio in the country and significantly higher than the national average of -8 percent.

 

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

 

For state and local benefits in 2016, Nevada employees earn 286 percent more than those in the private sector which is 125 percent higher than the national average of 127 percent and is the highest benefit ratio in the country.

 

 

While identifying the specific underlying causes of Nevada’s government compensation problem is beyond the scope of this analysis, you can begin by examining the actual compensation of government employees at Transparent Nevada.

 

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 Nevada.

 

The local government employment ratios are (from highest to lowest):

 

  • Pershing County, NV (63.6)
  • Lincoln County, NV (53.8)
  • Esmeralda County, NV (51.3)
  • Mineral County, NV (37.2)
  • White Pine County, NV (25.0)
  • Lyon County, NV (21.8)
  • Churchill County, NV (18.6)
  • Humboldt County, NV (18.6)
  • Lander County, NV (16.3)
  • Nye County, NV (14.9)
  • Elko County, NV (13.6)
  • Douglas County, NV (12.3)
  • Washoe County, NV (8.2)
  • Clark County, NV (7.9)
  • Eureka County, NV (7.0)
  • Storey County, NV (5.6)
  • Carson City (Independent City), NV (1.6)

 

The local government compensation ratios are (highest to lowest):

 

  • Carson City (Independent City), NV (258 percent)
  • Clark County, NV (61 percent)
  • Washoe County, NV (55 percent)
  • Douglas County, NV (46 percent)
  • Lincoln County, NV (46 percent)
  • Lyon County, NV (41 percent)
  • Churchill County, NV (37 percent)
  • White Pine County, NV (27 percent)
  • Elko County, NV (26 percent)
  • Mineral County, NV (21 percent)
  • Nye County, NV (19 percent)
  • Humboldt County, NV (15 percent)
  • Storey County, NV (-20 percent)
  • Lander County, NV (-22 percent)
  • Pershing County, NV (-28 percent)
  • Eureka County, NV (-41 percent)
  • Esmeralda County, NV (-47 percent)

 

Overall, it is Nevada’s high state and local compensation ratio, driven by both high wages and salaries and benefits, that is the primary reason for Nevada having the worst 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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