Special Report

States Where the Most People Work for the Government

30. Texas
> Pct. workers in government, 2015:
15.7%
> Pct. workers in government, 2005: 17.3% (23rd highest)
> Chg. government workers (2005-2015): 10.3% (3rd largest increase)
> People per square mile: 96.3 (25th fewest)

Texas has more government workers than any state in the country, except California. However, it is also the second most populous state. When compared to its entire workforce, Texas’ local, state, and federal government employees account for 15.7% of all workers, roughly in line with the national share of 15.5%.

29. Georgia
> Pct. workers in government, 2015:
15.9%
> Pct. workers in government, 2005: 16.6% (22nd lowest)
> Chg. government workers (2005-2015): 1.8% (22nd largest increase)
> People per square mile: 168.4 (18th most)

The government sector is the second largest in the Peach State, trailing only the trade, transportation, and utilities sector. As is the case in most states, the majority of public sector workers in Georgia work for local municipalities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a branch of the Department of Health and Human Services, is headquartered in Atlanta, contributing to a larger-than-average share of federal employees. Of public sector workers in Georgia, 14.6% answer to Washington, slightly more than the 12.4% that do nationwide.

28. Maine
> Pct. workers in government, 2015:
16.3%
> Pct. workers in government, 2005: 17.1% (24th lowest)
> Chg. government workers (2005-2015): -5.1% (6th largest decrease)
> People per square mile: 43.1 (13th fewest)

Just over 16% of Maine’s workforce is employed directly by the government. While that figure is slightly higher than is typical across the country, it does not fully capture the total share of workers in the state who are paid with tax dollars. The state is home to General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, a company that recently built a new stealth destroyer for the U.S. Navy. In 2014, the Navy awarded Bath Iron Works a $100 million contract for its role in developing another new combat ship.

27. Iowa
> Pct. workers in government, 2015:
16.3%
> Pct. workers in government, 2005: 16.6% (21st lowest)
> Chg. government workers (2005-2015): 4.0% (23rd largest increase)
> People per square mile: 54.5 (15th fewest)

The government sector is the second largest employer in the state of Iowa, with 255,000 employees as of 2015. Iowa passed through the recession relatively unscathed compared to most states. Its unemployment rate never exceeded 6.6%, while some states had unemployment rates more than double that. Likely as a result of of Iowa’s relative stability, few Iowa job sectors have fluctuated significantly over the past decade, including the government sector, which increased by just 4.0% over that time, close to the U.S. average.

26. Colorado
> Pct. workers in government, 2015:
16.4%
> Pct. workers in government, 2005: 16.3% (20th lowest)
> Chg. government workers (2005-2015): 14.9% (2nd largest increase)
> People per square mile: 48.5 (14th fewest)

Government employees make up 16.4% of the Colorado workforce, the second largest share of any sector in the state. While the percentage of public sector employment has remained relatively unchanged since 2005, the number of employees has not. In the last decade, the number of Colorado residents who work for the government rose from 362,000 to 416,700. The 14.9% increase was the second largest of any state’s government sector in that time.