This surprised me a bit and for those of us who believe that government should be a lean mean fighting machine, this comes as good news.

According to the U.S. Census estimates for 2016 as reported by Mlive Michigan has the 2nd lowest percentage of citizens working at the local, state and federal government.

Michigan ranked 49th out of our 50 states in the percentage of citizens on government payroll coming in at 10.3%, only the state of Pennsylvania had a lower percentage at 10.1%.  These estimates did not include the military.

When looking at the data of employment by sector in Michigan, approximately:

  • 75% of us worked for private companies
  • 10% worked for governments (local, state and federal)
  • 10% worked for non-profits
  • 5% were self-employed

When the Census data broke down public employees by local, state and federal employees in Michigan we find that:

  • Local government employed 5.1% of all workers compared to 6.7% nationally;
  • State government employed 3.8% compared to the U.S. average of 4.4%;
  • Federal government employed 1.5% compared to a national average of 2.4%.

Who topped the charts in the United States:

  1. Alaska had 25.6% employed in government
  2. New Mexico had 22.4% employed in government
  3. Maryland had 21.5% employed in government
  4. Wyoming had 20.1% employed in government
  5. Hawaii had 19.8% employed in government

I believe Michigan is run well at all levels, of course there are some exceptions, thus this proves that we do not need as many government workers as many believe we do.

Why are the percentages in Alaska, New Mexico, Maryland, Wyoming and Hawaii close to or more than double Michigan I do not know.  I assume there are some legitimate reasons that explain such higher percentages, but double the percentage of Michigan is interesting.


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