Submitted by Taps Coogan on the 2nd of March 2018 to The Sounding Line.
As we have discussed on several occasions here at The Sounding, the recent surge in government debt and unfunded liabilities around the world is not just limited to national governments. It has taken place in state/provincial and local governments as well. One of the key reasons for the increase in state and local debt is the swelling number and cost of government workers. In order to better understand which US states have the most state and local government workers, we have created the following maps based on the most recent US Census figures (2016):
State and Local Workforce to Population:
The following interactive heat map shows the state and local public sector workforce (full time equivalents) as a percentage of the population for each state. Red indicates a higher government workforce to population ratio, green a lower ratio. Clicking on one state reveals the exact value.
State and Local Annual Payroll Costs per Capita:
The following interactive heat map shows state and local annual payroll costs per capita in each state. Red indicates higher payroll costs per capita, green is lower. Clicking on one state reveals the exact value.
Debt to GDP:
The following heat map shows the debt-to-GDP of each state. Red indicates a higher debt-to-GDP ratio, green a lower ratio. Clicking on one state reveals the exact value.
Looking at these various measures of the financial burdens of state and local government reveals a few trends.
Nationally, about 1.3% of the US population works for state and local government, ranging from 0.87% in Florida to 4.1% in Hawaii. On average, the salaries of state and local workers cost each person in the US about $822 a year, ranging from $442 in Florida to $2,316 in Alaska.The state with the lowest debt-to-GDP is Alaska (2%) and the state with the highest is New York (23%). The state in the overall worst condition based on these three metrics is probably Hawaii. Hawaii has the highest ratio of government workers to population, the second highest government payroll costs per capita, and a fairly high debt-to-GDP ratio of 19%. The cost of paying Hawaii’s government workforce amounts to an astounding $2,263 for every person in the state. After Hawaii, Connecticut stands out as having fairly high payroll costs, a large government workforce, and high state debt. While New York has the highest debt-to-GDP in the country, it has average payroll expenses and an average government workforce. Florida is one of the states that fares best by these metrics, with the lowest government workforce and payroll costs, and a lower than average debt-to-GDP of 13%. Florida does so while remaining one of the few states with no state income tax.
In addition to the factors discussed in this article, each state has further layers of unfunded liabilities stemming for pension and entitlement programs.
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|State||State Population||Annual Cost of Public Worker Payroll per Capita||State and Local Workers (% of Population)||Debt-to-GDP|
Data Sources: US Census, USdebtclock.org