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Estimating private sector productivity is easier than estimating government productivity. In the private sector, productivity is the sum of all goods and services (as measured by Gross Domestic Product) divided by the number of workers. In the public sector, however, there is no reliable measure on the value of “goods and services” received because prices are not set on a voluntary basis. Rather, elected legislatures determine taxes that citizens pay to fund government.
Unfortunately, citizens have no direct way to judge whether they are getting their “bang for the buck” for the goods and services the public sector provides. The data and analysis shown below provides an indirect way to better understand the productivity of the public sector by examining government employment and compensation levels and ratios over time and across the 50 states.
The basis of comparison is the examination of the ratio of government jobs and compensation relative to the private sector. For any given state the ratios are compared to the national average. There is nothing magical about the national average; however, since it represents an amalgam of 50 states, one can reasonably assume that being above the national average indicates “low productivity” among the state government’s workforce and vice-versa.
Be sure to check out our government workforce analysis by state: Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming