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Rhode Island’s State and Local Government Workforce is the Sixth “Least Productive” in 2016

Dec 17, 2017

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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, Rhode Island has the sixth 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, #Rhode Island had the 6th least productive state and local #government workforce in the country http://bit.ly/2BDEhpN @keypolicydata #RIpol #RIgov (click to tweet)

 

As shown in Chart 1, for state and local government employment in 2016, Rhode Island employed 12.6 employees for every 100 employees in the private sector (employment ratio) which is below the national average of 15.7 and is 5th lowest ratio in the country.

 

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

 

In 2016, #Rhode Island state & local #government employed 12.6 for every 100 employed in private sector—the 5th lowest ratio in the country and below the US average http://bit.ly/2BDEhpN @keypolicydata #RIpol #RIgov (click to tweet)

 

Additionally, Rhode Island’s employment ratio has been increasing. As shown in Chart 2, between 1969 and 2016, the employment ratio grew by 3 percent to 12.6 in 2016 from 12.3 in 1969. This is slightly above the national average which increased by 2 percent to 15.7 in 2016 from 15.4 in 1969.

 

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

 

As shown in Chart 3, for state and local government compensation in 2016, Rhode Island government employees earning 33 percent more than those in the private sector (compensation ratio) which is 147 percent higher than the national average of 14 percent and is the 3rd highest compensation ratio in the country.

 

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

 

In 2016, #Rhode Island state & local #government compensation was 33% higher than in the private sector—the 3rd highest ratio in the country and 147 percent above US average http://bit.ly/2BDEhpN @keypolicydata #RIpol #RIgov (click to tweet)

 

Additionally, Rhode Island’s compensation ratio has been increasing. As shown in Chart 4, between 1969 and 2016, the compensation ratio increased by 30 percentage points to 33 percent in 2016 from 3 percent in 1969. This is a significantly faster growth rate than the national average which increased by 15 percentage points to 14 percent in 2016 from -1 percent in 1969.

 

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

 

As shown in Chart 5, it is both state and local wages and salaries and benefits that are responsible for Rhode Island’s high government compensation ratio. For state and local wages and salaries in 2016, Rhode Island employees earn 13 percent more than those in the private sector which is the highest wages and salaries ratio in the country and significantly higher than the national average of -8 percent.

 

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

 

For state and local benefits in 2016, Rhode Island employees earn 134 percent more than those in the private sector which is 5 percent higher than the national average of 127 percent and is the 9th highest 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 Rhode Island.

 

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

 

  • Bristol County, RI (12.2)
  • Washington County, RI (9.9)
  • Newport County, RI (8.6)
  • Kent County, RI (7.6)
  • Providence County, RI (6.8)

 

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

 

  • Bristol County, RI (63 percent)
  • Kent County, RI (52 percent)
  • Newport County, RI (42 percent)
  • Providence County, RI (37 percent)
  • Washington County, RI (35 percent)

Overall, it is Rhode Island’s high compensation ratio, driven by both wages and salaries and benefits, that is the primary reason for Rhode Island having the 6th 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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