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, Missouri has the twelfth most productive state and local government workforce in the country.
On state and local government employment, Missouri ranks just below the national average with 16.67 employees for every 100 employees in the private sector which is -0.6 percent below the national average of 16.77 and is the 33rd lowest ratio in the country.
On state and local government compensation, Missouri ranks low with government employees earning only 2.6 percent more than those in the private sector—significantly below the national average of 11.7 percent and is the 11th lowest compensation ratio in the country.
Both wages and salaries and benefits contribute to Missouri’s low government compensation ratio. On state and local wages and salaries, Missouri employees earn -16.5 percent less than those in the private sector—the 6th lowest wages and salaries ratio in the country and below than the national average of -8.8 percent.
On state and local benefits (pensions, health insurance, etc.), Missouri employees earn 96.8 percent more than those in the private sector which is -15.8 percent lower than the national average of 115 percent and is the 24th highest benefit ratio in the country.
Overall, it is Missouri’s low government compensation ratio, especially driven by a low wages and salaries ratio, which is the primary source of the good government workforce metrics.
Note: Recent data updates include significant definitional changes, especially to benefits which are now based on an accrual basis as opposed to a cash-basis. The changes currently go back to 2000 so comparisons between pre- and post-2000 data must be used with caution.
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.