Are There Really Too Many State Employees in Rhode Island?
When viewed in proportion to our population, the number of state workers in Rhode Island is the smallest among the six New England states and just the 40th-largest in the country, according to US Bureau of Labor statistics used in an analysis compiled by Governing magazine.The complete list compiled by Governing is available here. All of kinds of other numbers of potential interest are available here.
In contrast to regional leader Vermont, which has 301 state employees per 10,000 residents, the magazine’s sourcebook found, Rhode Island has 164 state workers per 10,000 residents. The comparable numbers for the other states: Maine (221); Connecticut (196); New Hampshire (188); and Massachusetts (187)….
The number of authorized full-time equivalents in state government (which could be greater than the number of actual employees) is 15,987 for the current fiscal year, compared with 15,796 10 years ago, according to RIPEC’s Gary Sasse. The count of FTEs had been as high as 17,715 in 1992, he says, and as low as 16,910 in fiscal 2004.
Rather than the sheer number of workers, Sasse says, “the problem in Rhode Island is that we have high costs per employee.” He puts the typical cost of salary and benefits for a state employee in the area of $90,000, noting that the state’s total for this stuff has climbed over the last year by about 7.5 percent.