Special Report

States Where the Most People Work for the Government

40. Wisconsin
> Pct. workers in government, 2015:
14.2%
> Pct. workers in government, 2005: 14.6% (10th lowest)
> Chg. government workers (2005-2015): -1.3% (13th largest decrease)
> People per square mile: 105.0 (23rd most)

The federal government employs some number of people in every state, and often federal employment boosts the overall public sector workforce. In Wisconsin, however, where government workers are generally underrepresented, just 7% of the state’s public workers are federal employees. Only Iowa has a smaller percentage of federal employees.

39. Connecticut
> Pct. workers in government, 2015:
14.3%
> Pct. workers in government, 2005: 14.8% (12th lowest)
> Chg. government workers (2005-2015): -2.9% (10th largest decrease)
> People per square mile: 738.1 (4th most)

Connecticut is one of only 14 states in which the number of public employees declined over the past decade. In 2005, there were 246,200 local, state, and federal government workers employed in Connecticut. That number declined by 7,100 by 2015. More densely populated areas tend to have lower concentrations of government workers, and Connecticut has 738 residents per square mile, the fourth highest population density in the country.

38. Delaware
> Pct. workers in government, 2015:
14.6%
> Pct. workers in government, 2005: 13.8% (5th lowest)
> Chg. government workers (2005-2015): 9.7% (4th largest increase)
> People per square mile: 460.8 (6th most)

In most states, the majority of government employees work for local municipalities. Delaware is a notable exception, however, as over half of the government workers are employed by the state. Only 41.3% of public employees in Delaware work for local authorities, the smallest share of any state, with the exception of Hawaii. In addition, only 8.6% of public workers in Delaware are federal employees.

37. Tennessee
> Pct. workers in government, 2015:
14.7%
> Pct. workers in government, 2005: 15.0% (13th lowest)
> Chg. government workers (2005-2015): 3.3% (25th largest increase)
> People per square mile: 153.9 (19th most)

Like most states, Tennessee’s public workforce increased over the last decade. The state’s workers employed at the federal, state, and or local levels increased by 13,700, or 3.3%, several times faster than the national increase of 0.9%. Several other Tennessee sectors added far more jobs than the public sector over the past decade, including the professional and business services sector, which added 80,000 jobs between 2005 and 2015.

36. Minnesota
> Pct. workers in government, 2015:
14.7%
> Pct. workers in government, 2005: 15.2% (14th lowest)
> Chg. government workers (2005-2015): 1.5% (19th largest increase)
> People per square mile: 66.6 (20th fewest)

Only 14.7% of Minnesota’s workforce is employed in the public sector, slightly less than the nationwide rate of 15.5%. Of the 421,000 government workers in Minnesota, only 7.5% are federal employees, one of the smallest such shares of any state. The Mayo Clinic is the largest employer in Minnesota and, perhaps not surprisingly, the health services sector employs over half a million people, considerably more than the government sector.