5. New Mexico
> Pct. working for government: 21.8%
> Median household income: $41,963 (8th lowest)
> Unemployment: 6.6% (18th lowest)
More than 8% of New Mexico’s workforce was employed by the federal government, the fifth-highest percentage of all states. In addition, 9.4% of employees in New Mexico worked for the state government, also the fifth-highest percentage. However, just 4% worked for a local government of some sort, the 10th-lowest percentage of all states. New Mexico has three ports of entry between the U.S. and Mexico: Santa Teresa, Columbus and Antelope Wells. The BLS estimates that the state had just under 190,000 government employees as of December — the lowest government employment has been in that month for more than 10 years.
> Pct. working for government: 22.8%
> Median household income: $61,882 (7th highest)
> Unemployment: 5.6% (12th lowest)
In Virginia, more than 11% of all workers were federal government employees, a figure that trails just three other states. In northern Virginia, many people commute into Washington D.C. to work for the federal government. The Pentagon is also located in Virginia, right outside of D.C., employing tens of thousands of uniformed and civilian workers. Areas outside the capital region also employ many government workers, including military bases around Virginia Beach.
> Pct. working for government: 25.5%
> Median household income: $70,004 (the highest)
> Unemployment: 6.7% (21st lowest)
More than 13% of all workers in Maryland worked for the federal government as of 2012. Many people who live in the Maryland suburbs and work for the federal government commute into Washington D.C. or the nearby suburbs in northern Virginia. In addition, Maryland is home to the National Institutes of Health, an agency that employs 18,000 people. Also, 6.4% of Maryland’s workforce was employed by local governments, the fifth-highest percentage of all states. The presence of high-paying government jobs has helped Maryland become a high-income state. In 2011, the median income was more than $70,000 — the highest in the country.
> Pct. working for government: 27.8%
> Median household income: $61,821 (8th highest)
> Unemployment: 5.1% (7th lowest)
Nearly 13% of workers in Hawaii worked for the federal government, more than any other state except for Maryland. Hawaii is home to several large military bases spread across the islands, including Fort Shafter, Schofield Barracks and Naval Station Pearl Harbor. According to the Census Bureau, in Honolulu, the largest metropolitan area in Hawaii, more than 23% of the workforce was employed in a state, local or federal government job in 2011, one of the highest rates among the nation’s metropolitan areas.
> Pct. working for government: 28.0%
> Median household income: $67,825 (2nd highest)
> Unemployment: 6.6% (18th lowest)
A whopping 28% of Alaska workers were employed by some government entity, more than any other state in the U.S. This is down, however, from 29.6% in 2011. In Alaska’s largest metropolitan area, Anchorage, more than 23% of the workforce was employed by a government entity in 2011. Employment in government is very high because the Department of the Interior owns 75 million acres of federal land in Alaska, which requires a lot of maintenance. The Alaska Tribal Health System, run by the Indian Health Service, also employs many people. Unlike many states, which saw a significant decline in government employment during the recession, Alaska’s public workforce in December 2012 was up slightly from the same month in 2008, according to the BLS.