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, Massachusetts has the fifteenth most productive state and local government workforce in the country.
On state and local government employment, Massachusetts ranks significantly below the national average with 13.14 employees for every 100 employees in the private sector which is -21.7 percent below the national average of 16.77 and is the 3rd lowest ratio in the country.
On state and local government compensation, Massachusetts ranks below average with government employees earning 6.9 percent more than those in the private sector—significantly below the national average of 11.7 percent and is the 20th lowest compensation ratio in the country.
Both wages and salaries and benefits contribute to Massachusetts’s low government compensation ratio. On state and local wages and salaries, Massachusetts employees earn -13 percent less than those in the private sector—the 15th 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.), Massachusetts employees earn 107 percent more than those in the private sector which is -6.9 percent lower than the national average of 115 percent and is the 15th highest benefit ratio in the country.
Overall, it is Massachusetts’s very low government employment ratio, combined with a below average compensation 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.
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.