Study: RI has highest level of private-sector jobs in the USDecember 2nd, 2013 at 3:29 pm by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site
Here’s a statistic that won’t surprise regular Nesi’s Notes readers but may surprise others.
A new study by the libertarian-leaning Mercatus Center at George Mason University shows Rhode Island has the largest percentage of real private-sector jobs in the country: 85.7% of total employment. The study defines “true” private-sector jobs as those that aren’t financed by the federal government, whether the individual is employed directly or through a contractor.
“Direct government employment fails to capture the full impact of government spending on state labor markets,” the authors write. “Using federal contract data obtained from USAspending.gov, we estimated the percentage of private sector jobs actually financed by federal contract dollars in each state.”
Here’s the map:
Just 1.4% of private-sector jobs in Rhode Island are funded by federal contracts, compared with 5% in Connecticut and 3.5% in Massachusetts. The share ranges from 10.7% in Virgina to 0.7% in Oregon.
Another Mercatus map includes the depressing statistic that Rhode Island lost 5.4% of its real private-sector jobs between 2007 and 2012, one of the larger decreases in the country:
This is just the latest evidence that Rhode Island’s active public payroll isn’t as enormous as some seem to think. A recent New York Times analysis found Rhode Island has the second-fewest government workers among the 50 states after moving aggressively to cut jobs during the recession. Government employment in Rhode Island as a share of the population is now at the lowest level since at least 1990.
But government employment and government spending aren’t always the same thing. These analyses don’t show the size of Rhode Island’s retired public payroll (pensioners) or the level of spending by the public sector. Much of the state’s $2 billion in Medicaid spending, for example, doesn’t employ state workers directly.
• Related: RI has 2nd-lowest level of government employment in the US (Oct. 7)
Tags: carcieri administration, chafee administration, employment, george mason university, government, jobs, mercatus center, organized labor, private sector, public sector, state government, state workers, unemployment, workers